The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 12/15/14

Live from Detroit, Michigan this is the Raw Deal for episode #1124. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. My WWE TLC review is posted here in case you missed it.

Raw began with the entrance of tonight’s guest GM Chris Jericho. He received a huge ovation from the crowd. It was a long, sustained pop for him even after his music stopped playing. The announce team of Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield and Jerry Lawler mentioned he won a Slammy last week for Extreme Moment of the Year.

Jericho welcomed us to Raw is Jericho and said there wasn’t a better place to be than Detroit Rock City. Way to suck up. Jericho said tonight’s show is going to be about the fans and he thanked them for the Slammy that he won. Fans chanted “Y2J” so he said he could stand here listening to them chanting that all night, but he would get in trouble. He mentioned Fandango accepting his Slammy last week. Jericho demanded that Fandango comes out there and he insulted him by making up different versions of his name similar to when they feuded in 2013. “Get out here, Fan-dunghole.”

Paul Heyman entered the arena to no music and walked down to the ring. He mentioned that he was a Jerichoholic and said that tonight is Raw is Jericho. Heyman wondered why he wasn’t put in control of Raw considering his track record. Heyman wondered about Jericho winning the Extreme Moment of the Year saying that he was extreme. Heyman said he was the father of the extreme and he kept on rolling on, so Jericho called him the walrus. Jericho said that Heyman did discover him in ECW and that Heyman owed him $200 from 20 years ago. Jericho teased him about it. Heyman said it’s not funny and that he’s just an advocate for WWE Champion Brock Lesnar. Heyman mentioned Seth Rollins saying he wanted to address him since he failed in his task last night at TLC against John Cena.

Seth Rollins’ music played and he walked out with J&J Security. Fans chanted “you sold out” at him. Rollins got right in Paul’s face and wondered if Paul had anything to say to him. Heyman said that in the interest of being reasonable, he’s going to take a step back since he’s not a sports entertainer. Rollins said that Heyman watched the whole thing at TLC when Rollins put Cena through a table and he saw that victory taken away from Rollins. He brought up that he had the match won at Survivor Series but one man took it away, “The Vigilante” Sting. WWE plans on suing that Vigilante nickname for him. Rollins complained about Roman Reigns costing him on Sunday and that John Cena needs help to beat Rollins because he’s that good. Rollins called Cena a coward. Rollins challenged Cena to a rematch, but not tonight. The fans booed. Cena’s music started up.

John Cena marched down to the ring quickly to get in Seth’s face. Cena told Rollins to shut his mouth and called him “kid” because the grown men needed to talk. He mocked Rollins for having no testicles. Sign in the crowd: “Cena Turn Heel You Douche.” That’s pretty direct, isn’t it? Cena said that they had a match, but Rollins lost yet he’s out here making excuses and that a man should be out there continuing to fight. Cena faced Heyman to say that at the Royal Rumble he’ll face Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship. Cena told Rollins he showed up looking for a fight. Cena mentioned that he wanted to have a rematch too. Cena said he needed help by somebody to make a match tonight and pointed out Jericho standing in the ring.

Jericho set up the rematch for Raw with Cena taking on Rollins. Jericho announced the match would take place in the steel cage, which was conveniently already there above the ring.

Rollins complained about the match saying Jericho is worst GM of all time, even worse than the computer and Daniel Bryan. Rollins claimed that Jericho is nothing compared to him. He told Rollins he was out of shape and he couldn’t even beat the popcorn salesman or even Paul Heyman. Jericho jokingly said the popcorn guy is a ninja, but he thought he could beat Heyman. Jericho said he really thinks he can beat Heyman. Heyman said that he thinks Jericho can beat Heyman and that Jericho should change the subject. Jericho made the match official with him facing Paul Heyman while JBL wondered if that was sponsored by Sea World. Jericho told fans to vote on WWE App to figure out what kind of match they should have. Cole said they would have the vote up after the break while Jericho left and Heyman was upset at Rollins in the ring.

Analysis: That was a 23 minute opening segment. Do these things really need to take that long to get to the point? It happens far too often. I like all the guys involved in this segment, but it’s silly that these things go that long. Rollins continues to improve on the microphone and doesn’t get enough credit for it. Jericho is apparently like most people running Raw in that he shows up to the show without a main event and then figures it out in the opening segment. Also, it’s hard for people to think that this was all “on the fly” when they have the announcer Michael Cole saying they’ll have the choices up after the break. With all of that said, I have no problems with Cena vs. Rollins in a cage match because they usually have good matches. It makes sense from a storyline standpoint because it’s supposed to prevent interference.

(Commercial)

The WWE App choices for Jericho vs. Heyman are Extreme Rules Match, No Holds Barred and Street Fight. They are all similar match types, but that’s the point. The idea is that it would hurt Heyman.

Dolph Ziggler & Erick Rowan vs. Big Show & Luke Harper

Zigger is the only one that got a televised entrance. Big Show worked over Ziggler for the early portion of the match with a shoulder tackle and then he tossed Ziggler into the barricade at ringside. Ziggler rolled back into the ring and they went to break there.

(Commercial)

Harper was in the ring and he nailed Ziggler with an uppercut punch as Ziggler was still getting attacked by the dominant heels. Show tagged in and hit a move once known as The Final Cut for two although they didn’t call it that. Show gave Ziggler a headbutt and then tagged in Harper, who nailed Ziggler with a slingshot into the ropes. Boot to the face by Ziggler and then Harper hit the post with his shoulder. Rowan got the hot tag.

Rowan nailed Harper with a corner splash and then a Full Nelson Slam as well as a punch for Big Show. Harper brought in Show, who received a spin kick by Rowan. Harper superkick on Rowan. Ziggler took out Harper and they went crashing over the announce table. Rowan stumbled over to Show, who hit a KO Punch to knock out Rowan for the pin after 10 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Big Show & Luke Harper

Analysis: **1/2 It was a standard tag match with Ziggler doing the majority of the work for his team and then Show getting the win by capitalizing with the KO Punch. I don’t mind Rowan getting pinned. He’s really not going to get a big push while Zigger isn’t hurt when his partner loses the match. The plan for Show seems to be making him strong leading into the Royal Rumble, so he’ll be one of the big guys standing in the way of Roman Reigns in that match.

Backstage, Fandango was with Rosa Mendes when Chris Jericho showed up. Fandango told Jericho if he wanted his Slammy he can come and get it, so Jericho told him to shut up. Jericho said when he’s done beating Paul Heyman he’ll dance all over his face and take his Slammy, junior.

Analysis: At least that counts as storyline continuity, so that’s nice.

(Commercial)

There were images shown from TLC with Bray Wyatt beating Dean Ambrose in the TLC match. It was announced that Dean and Bray would both be on Smackdown this week.

The New Day trio were interviewed by Renee Young, who mentioned Goldust & Stardust. Xavier Woods said that the negativity is gone and that everything is exposed by the light. He said tonight they unleash the PhD. Kofi Kingston said they aren’t a walk in the park and that they aren’t afraid of the dark. Big E said they would bring the power while the other two mocked him for sweating so much.

Analysis: I’m still not sure if they are doing the over the top babyface gimmick to gain support or if it’s going to lead to a heel turn soon because it just seems like they’re trying too hard. I do like seeing them together. Better than not being on TV, at least.

The Bella Twins entered for a match.

(Commercial)

The Bella Twins vs. Alicia Fox & Natalya (w/Tyson Kidd)

Nikki hit a spinebuster on Alicia for two and then tagged in Brie, who applied a headlock on Brie. Cole accidentally said that Natalya was Tyson’s husband, so he mis-spoke and the other announcers made fun of him. More chinlock by Brie. Fox broke free and did the hot tag to Natalya, who nailed Brie with forearms as well as a dropkick. Natalya tossed Brie into Nikki on the apron. Brie went for a facebuster, but Natalya countered into a Sharpshooter leading to the submission win after two minutes of action.

Winners by submission: Natalya & Alicia Fox

As that finish was going on, Kidd went over to Nikki on the floor and was checking on her. After it was over, Kidd went into the ring to do an awkward hug with his wife. Then he was overbearing in terms of celebrating after the match.

Analysis: 1/2* A short match that felt rushed like usual for the divas because when you have 23 minute talking segments to start the show it hurts everything else. They did the hot tag 90 seconds into this. That’s really quick. Natalya getting the win is encouraging because she might become a top contender for Nikki’s Divas Title, which would be great. Kidd is awesome like usual although I’d rather see him in a match.

Jericho hosts Rusev & Lana in the Highlight Reel up next.

(Commercial)

Plug Time: This Tuesday at 10pmET it’s TJR Radio episode #54, which is our last show of the year. My co-hosts are The Ace and Justin Seagull. Joining us for the show this month is Jason Powell of Prowrestling.net (@prowrestlingnet). We’re going to talk about his career covering wrestling, current happenings in WWE and reflect on WWE in 2014. He’s a great guy that we look forward to talking to. If you can’t listen live that TJR Radio link will work after it’s over.

Roman Reigns is back in action on Super Smackdown Live on Tuesday night. Spoiler: Roman Reigns wins. I don’t care who he is against. It’s a win.

Highlight Reel Hosted by Chris Jericho with Rusev & Lana

Jericho asked if the fans were having a great time and they cheered. He said the last time he did a Highlight Reel he predicted The Authority would lose and he was right. He brought out Rusev & Lana as his guests. Cole mentioned that Rusev still hasn’t been pinned or submitted in WWE.

The fans chanted “USA” at them. Lana mentioned Rusev’s win at TLC on Sunday. Jericho pointed out that Lana was wearing a very tight business suit and that there was a rule you shouldn’t wear the same outfit twice on TV in a row, so she was in the same outfit from Sunday. He wondered about Lana’s hair that it made it look like she had a pineapple on her head (see banner above). He told Rusev to relieve some of his stress and show Lana is sputnik. Jericho said that he struck a nerve by suggesting there was something going on with them, then sang the “Rusev and Lana sitting in the tree” song. Jericho called Rusev an unwashed cab driver, saying maybe Rusev wanted to show her his cosmonauts. Jericho called them the “US Champ and the Communist tramp.” She told him to shut up, so Jericho repeated “shut up” at her. That was funny. Rusev told Jericho he talks too much and that maybe Rusev should crush him now. Jericho told Rusev there was somebody that wants to fight him right now.

Ryback’s music started up as The Big Guy entered the ring to confront Rusev. Fans were chanting “Feed Me More” in support of Ryback while Jericho left the ring. Rusev slowly backed out of the ring with Lana. Rusev left with the US Title held up in the air while fans chanted “Feed Me More” for Ryback. I love how guys come out to fight and then do nothing when somebody walks out of the ring. This is the mindset: “I want to fight you, but you walked out of the ring so I guess it’s over now.” Yeah sure.

Analysis: This feels like a big showdown for the near future. They’re two big guys that have been booked very strongly for a long time, so it makes sense that they would face off like this. It’s probably not going to be a good match when they wrestle, but if WWE builds it up right then the fans will get excited about it. When you have two strong characters like those two it is a big deal when they have that first match whenever it is.

There was a replay from TLC when Roman Reigns made his return to attack Big Show and Seth Rollins.

The steel cage is coming up later.

(Commercial)

There was a video clip for The Ascension that was also shown on Smackdown on Friday. They have been a great team on NXT for a long time, so it’s great that they are close to being on Raw. No specific date was announced for their debut, but we will likely see Konnor and Viktor on the main roster in early 2015.

The New Day made their entrance. JBL was talking about how nobody is that happy and that optimistic. Fans were barely reacting to them except for a few people.

Big E & Xavier Woods (w/Kofi Kingston) vs. Goldust & Stardust

Xavier and Big E were aggressive, so Goldust went to the floor to regroup. Kofi joined the announce team. JBL wondered why they are so happy and positive. Kofi said there’s nothing that they are hiding and they are a true team. They discussed Big E’s profuse sweating problem as Big E hit two backbreakers on Stardust and Woods hit a kick on Stardust. Big E slammed Woods onto Stardust for a two count. Woods sent Stardust outside the ring and Goldust was outside too as the show went to break.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Big E did a shoulder tackle on Stardust, but Goldust made a blind tag and unloaded on Big E with punches. Lots of quick tags from Goldust & Stardust as they wore down Big E in their corner. Goldust spinebuster got two. Fans were getting bored and chanted “CM Punk” randomly. As the heels continued to work on Big E, fans chanted “NXT” and I think that’s great because NXT is awesome. Big E hit a huge clothesline on Stardust, which led to the hot tag to Woods, who barely got a reaction. Woods dropkick on Goldust and then a spinning clothesline for two. Woods hit an enziguiri kick to knock Goldust out of the ring. Stardust got sent out of the ring too. Big E tagged in, went on all fours and Woods jumped off his back over the top rope to take out the heels. The crowd did like that. Big E picked up Goldust for the Big Ending while Woods jumped off the middle rope to slam Goldust down in the ring. Kofi was yelling The Midnight Hour so that’s the name of the move. That was enough for the pinfall after 14 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Big E & Xavier Woods

Analysis: **1/4 It was fine, but it felt long. That’s one of those matches where they should have done an audible in the middle of it and gave them less time because the crowd lost interest. The fans are still not sure what to think about The New Day and it still looks like WWE is going to turn them into heels because this babyface act is so over the top. If this match was given seven minutes less and the divas were given more time that would have been better. Speaking of NXT, it’s a great show and Takeover was amazing last week, so why not mention it once in a while? I find that weird by WWE.

Steel cage match coming up later.

(Commercial)

It’s WWE week with live Smackdown on Tuesday, Tribute to the Troops on Wednesday and Jingle All the Way 2 with Larry the Cable Guy and Santino.

The tag team champions The Miz & Damien Mizdow were interviewed by the lovely Renee Young. Miz said he’s a tag team champion and a Hollywood A-lister. Miz said that Jimmy Uso is spoiling opportunities that Jimmy’s wife Naomi may have of making a name for herself.

Adam Rose talked to the Party Posse. He said after his match they’re going to have a big after party. Kane showed up and said he doesn’t like him or his freaky friends. The Bunny got too close. Kane told Rose he had a match against him.

Analysis: One of the Rosebuds was Jimmy Jacobs, who is a very well known indy wrestler for a long time.

(Commercial)

Adam Rose got a televised entrance, which is rare for him.

Adam Rose vs. Kane

Kane was aggressive, but Rose came back with a clothesline and then he celebrated too much. Kane hit a boot to the face. Kane wanted a Chokeslam, then the Bunny jumped into the ring. Kane hit Chokeslams on Rose and The Bunny at the same time. Kane covered Rose for the win after two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Kane

Post match, Kane went back into the ring and gave The Bunny a Tombstone. Cole was yelling saying that The Bunny was going to the pet cemetery. I hope that means that it’s the end of The Bunny as a regular character.

Analysis: Just a squash match, which is what it should have been. Kane came off as a babyface even though he’s still a heel. I really do hope it’s the end of this stupid Bunny gimmick.

The announce team reset the show with JBL celebrating the destruction of The Bunny. Clips aired the promo from the start of the show.

Paul Heyman was shown taping his fists for the main event. He was wearing a tracksuit as the WWE App vote was mentioned.

(Commercial)

This week on Main Event it’s Erick Rowan vs. Kane starting at 7pmET on WWE Network instead of 8pm like usual because of live Smackdown.

For the third time in the night, Chris Jericho made his entrance, this time in his ring gear. Paul Heyman made his entrance with no music like usual as Cole made fun of him for it.

Heyman was wearing a track suit. He had a microphone saying he has no tricks up his sleeves. Heels lie! He said he could say something humorous like how he’s the Jew in Jiu-Jitsu, but he doesn’t find anything funny. I thought that was awesome. Heyman said he understood what kind of crowd pleaser Jericho is. Heyman mentioned that he gave Jericho his break in the business in ECW twenty years ago, which is true. Heyman went to write a check for $200 with Cole making a joke that it would bounce.

Jericho said let’s go to the App to see what the fans voted for: Street Fight 43%, Extreme Rules match 39% and No Holds Barred 18%. For those of you complaining about it, the whole thing didn’t matter. Heyman was frustrated when he saw the results.

Heyman said he doesn’t understand why Jericho is going to get into a fight with…Brock Lesnarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Here he is.

Brock Lesnar’s music hit and Lesnar made his entrance to a thunderous mix of cheers and boos from the crowd. It was known online that Lesnar would be there, but it was not advertised on television. He didn’t have the WWE Title with him, but he was rocking a new shirt. Lesnar slowly walked around the ring while Heyman met him at ringside.

Lesnar went face to face with Jericho in the ring. Jericho struck first with a forearm shot, then went for a Codebreaker, but Brock shoved him off. Jericho had this great “oh s**t” kind of look on his face because Lesnar fought out of the Codebreaker. Lesnar picked him up and hit the F5 in the center of the ring. Fans were chanting “Cena” at him as Lesnar stood in the ring over the fallen Jericho. Lesnar left with Heyman.

Analysis: That was awesome. Lesnar has so much star power unlike anybody else on this show. The crowd was going crazy for him as soon as he showed up and it’s as if they don’t care that he was away for three months. In three minutes he just proved how valuable he is. I thought they should have had Heyman pin Jericho to win the match with Lesnar standing there. It’s not like Jericho would be hurt by it. It would be such a good heel move, but it didn’t matter too much. This happened during halftime of the NFL game and I had people tweeting me complaints that Lesnar didn’t have the WWE Title with him. I figured it was just done because this was supposed to be some surprise thing, but that Lesnar could be back later in the show with the WWE Title. As for Jericho, it’s a shame we never got a Lesnar/Jericho feud. Could have been great.

The announcers mentioned Lesnar defends the WWE Title at Royal Rumble against John Cena in less than six weeks.

Rosa Mendes and Fandango were in the ring doing their dancing, which isn’t that great. Fandango is in a match after the break.

(Commercial)

Fandango held Jericho’s Slammy in the air and said that Raw is Jericho is now “Raw was Jericho.” Before he could finish, Roman Reigns music started.

Reigns entered by walking down the steps. He’s wearing a t-shirt and vest as well as black pants. Reigns punched Fandango. Then he gave him a Spear. That was simple.

Analysis: WWE booked Fandango to win matches for about one month straight, but he got his ass kicked here. It wasn’t a match at least.

Reigns was about to speak, but Big Show’s music started up to cut him off. Reigns told Show if he comes down to the ring then Reigns is going to hit him in the mouth. Show mentioned that Reigns made the mistake of hitting Show on Sunday. He called Reigns “pretty boy” a couple of times. Show went onto the apron and Reigns nailed him with a Superman Punch. Show didn’t go down from it, but he slowly retreated up the ramp. Reigns celebrated while the crowd cheered.

Analysis: As mentioned earlier, Show is being booked strong to be that heel that targets Roman Reigns. It’s similar to the feud that was done leading into the 2014 Royal Rumble with Alberto Del Rio as the heel that went after Batista. WWE likes to do that storyline this time of year with whoever is the Rumble threat. Reigns is going to win the Rumble. Accept it.

The steel cage match is still to come.

(Commercial)

There was a replay of Reigns kicking ass.

The Miz (w/Damien Mizdow) vs. Jimmy Uso (w/Jey Uso)

All four guys had Slammy Awards with them. Fans chanted for Mizdow early in the match. Jimmy hit a powerslam on Miz while Mizdow did a bump on the floor. It happened twice. JBL said that Mizdow was method acting. Fans chanted “Mizdow’s awesome” as Jimmy took down Miz with punches. Jimmy hit an uppercut on Miz, but Miz came back with a boot to the face of Jimmy. When Mizdow went to imitate it, Miz told him to stop. Miz had control in the ring. Fans chanted “Mizdow” again. Miz hit his backbreaker/neckbreaker combo that Cole called vintage Miz. Jimmy hit some clothesline in the ring as well as a clothesline over the top. Jimmy hit a dive over the top to take out Miz. Back in the ring, cross body block by Jimmy for two. Jimmy fought out of the Figure Four Leglock and hit a Samoan Drop. Mizdow went into the ring and did a bump. The ref got him out of the ring, so Jey hit Miz in the ribs with a Slammy Award, which led to Jimmy hitting a Superkick. Jimmy hit a top rope splash for the win after 7 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Jimmy Uso

Analysis: **1/2 That was a solid match with a bit of a bizarre ending because the babyfaces cheated to win although it was payback for what happened at TLC with Miz hitting them with Slammy Awards. This tag team feud is continuing, which is the right move. Jimmy’s a very good in-ring performer while Miz isn’t booked like a main eventer anymore, but he’s still solid in his role. Mizdow is still awesome.

Another reminder of the Cena/Rollins cage match still to come.

(Commercial)

Backstage, Naomi was walking and bumped into Miz & Mizdow. Miz said that he’s a man of his word and he’s trying to get Naomi her music deal. He said that he knew Naomi wanted to be Divas Champion, so Miz was going to give her the opportunity to be on MizTV on Main Event. He said he would do that for Naomi because he knows how talented Naomi is. Miz said he knows that her husband won’t have a problem with that. Miz said it’s a huge opportunity, so maybe she shouldn’t tell her husband about it. Then Miz left.

Analysis: The ridiculousness of this storyline actually had a guy saying don’t tell your husband about this even though her husband is Jimmy Uso, who was just on this show and works for the same company. Do the writers think fans are complete idiots before they write this stuff? We’re supposed to assume that Jimmy never watches this show, that nobody that knows him watches him, that nobody would text or call him? It’s silly. The writing of these storylines could be so much better although it’s nice that Naomi actually has a storyline.

There was a reminder for Smackdown live on Tuesday night with Ambrose & Wyatt there.

Seth Rollins was interviewed by Renee and he had J&J with him. He complained about having to face Cena in a Cage Match. Rollins once again said that we need The Authority back in WWE running things. Rollins said he’d teach Cena a lesson he would not soon forget.

Analysis: He keeps mentioning The Authority coming back. Probably not going to happen, but good storyline continuity.

The cage lowered for the main event.

(Commercial)

Next week on Raw it’s “Ho Ho Hogan” with Hulk Hogan as the GM of the show. The show before Christmas is usually filled with comedy. I might skip it or at least write an abbreviated review instead.

Seth Rollins made his entrance with J&J Security at his side. The cage was set up in the ring as Rollins entered it. John Cena made his entrance as Cole mentioned that Cena was nominated for an award at CelebsGoneGood.com, so go vote for him if you care.

Steel Cage Match: John Cena vs. Seth Rollins (w/Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury)

You can win by pinfall, submission, climb out of the cage or walk out the door. There were “Let’s Go Cena/Cena Sucks” chants early on. Cena gave Rollins a slingshot into the cage, so Rollins tried to climb up. Cena brought him back into the ring by giving Rollins a bulldog off the top rope. Cena tried to climb like a dummy, so Rollins went to the door and Cena prevented an escape. Neither man could get out the door. Rollins hit a blockbuster neckbreaker off the middle ropes for two. Rollins tried to climb out, Cena stopped him and Rollins hit a Powerbomb into the turnbuckle for two. The show went to break there.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Cena hit shoulder tackles and spinning slam followed by the Five Knuckle Shuffle. He wanted the Attitude Adjustment, but Mercury was on the side of the cage. Cena tossed Rollins into the cage to knock Mercury down and then Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment. Rollins kicked out of it at two. Great nearfall. Cena wanted to get out of the cage, but Noble was blocking the door. Cena shoved him so Noble went into the barricade. Rollins wanted a superplex, Cena fought him off and then Cena hit a tope leg drop to the back of the head. Nice sequence right there. Rollins came back with a knee to the face after a leap off the top rope. Rollins complained that Cena cost him two of the biggest matches of his career and tossed Cena into the cage. There were “Let’s go Rollins” chants and “Let’s Go Cena” chants as well. Cena whipped Rollins face first into the cage. Cena tried to get out the door, but Mercury slammed the door in his face. That’s a standard spot in these kinds of matches. Rollins covered for a two count.

Cena avoided a Curb Stomp and applied the STF submission. Rollins crawled to the door, but Cena brought him back into the ring. Noble tossed the Money in the Bank briefcase into the ring. Rollins hit a kick to the head for two. Cena came back with a hard clothesline that Rollins sold by doing a flip bump. They did a punch exchange, then Rollins landed on his feet after dodging the AA and grabbed the Money in the Bank briefcase. Rollins nailed Cena with the briefcase for just a two count. Awesome nearfall right there. Rollins tried to climb out. Cena stopped him, then hit the AA off the top rope. Huge move. Cena was too hurt to cover. Both guys were out.

Brock Lesnar’s music started up and he emerged from the back with the WWE Title on his shoulder. Paul Heyman was back in a suit and he was with him. Lesnar entered the cage. Lesnar hit a German Suplex, then a second one and a third one that was a release. Rollins was watching all of this. Lesnar picked up Cena and hit the F5 on him. Lesnar just stared at Rollins, then pointed at Cena.

Heyman walked into ring, handed Lesnar the WWE Title and then Heyman extended a hand to Rollins, who shook Heyman’s hand. The crowd booed. Cole wondered if Rollins was in cahoots with Heyman and Lesnar for this. JBL thinks that Rollins came up with this. Lesnar and Heyman walked to the back.

Rollins nailed Cena with a Curb Stomp. When Cena sells the move, he does a good job of jumping up for it to sell it. Rollins ended up grabbing his briefcase, then slowly stepping out of the cage and down the stairs so that both feet touched the floor. The match went 24 minutes.

Winner by escaping the cage: Seth Rollins

Analysis: ***1/2 That was a better match than what they did on Sunday. Due to the amount of nearfalls, there was much more drama with everything they did. In a Tables Match things are limited in terms of what they can do, so this was a different type of match. Rollins kicked out of the Attitude Adjustment and then Cena kicked out of a shot by the briefcase. It was great drama. The presence of Lesnar made it end without a clean finish. Great work by both Rollins and Cena in that match. They had a main event match worthy of Raw. Is it frustrating to have another Raw main event end without a clean finish? Sure, but it actually fit the story really well, so I have no problem with it. Long main event matches that are good are fine with me.

After the match, they showed replays of the key moments in the match while the announcers debated if Rollins was working with Heyman and Lesnar. At the top of the ramp, J&J Security put Rollins on their shoulders as the victor of the match while Cena was in a lot of pain in the ring. That was the end of the show.

Analysis: The show goes off the air with a great cliffhanger because it makes fans think that Rollins is working with Heyman and Lesnar. I don’t know if this means Rollins is going to become a “Heyman guy” or anything like that, but I just think they are going to say that they worked together because it was convenient since they were all targeting Cena.

They could say it was all an elaborate scheme starting from the beginning of the show with Rollins saying Jericho could beat Heyman, which was their way of bringing Brock back to take out Jericho, who was in a position of power for the show. Then Rollins was put in that grueling match with Cena where Lesnar came out to destroy Cena and give Rollins the easy win. Even though Rollins did attack Lesnar at Night of Champions, they are working together now just because they all hate Cena. Makes sense to me.

 

Three Stars of the Show

1. Seth Rollins

2. John Cena

3. Brock Lesnar

The Scoreboard

5.5 out of 10

Last week: 4.5

2014 Average: 5.83

2014 High: 9 (April 7 & June 30)

2014 Low: 3 (September 1)

Last 5 Weeks: 4.5, 5, 3.5, 4.5, 5.5

 

Final Thoughts

It gets a 5.5 out of 10.

Thanks to a really good main event match, plus the return of WWE Champion Brock Lesnar, it was a better show than it has been in the last four weeks. However, it’s still not above my yearly average.

Rollins and Cena have had a number of good matches in recent months. I think Rollins is performing at such a high level in everything he does.

There are still problems in the show in terms of the midcard and not really doing anything that exciting in that sense. At least Rusev has a new opponent in Ryback.

That match with The New Day and Goldust/Stardust really should have been shorter while the divas match felt really rushed like usual. Other matches on the show were pretty average.

It would have been nice to see Ziggler in more of a featured role after having such a great performance on Sunday, but that’s WWE. They don’t always know how to capitalize on things like that for midcarders.

The lack of Ambrose/Wyatt was upsetting. They did that because they wanted to sell the idea that both guys were hurt from their TLC match and they advertised both of them for live Smackdown tonight. I can understand why they did that, but both guys were still missed.

I’m glad that Lesnar is back even though he won’t be on every week. He won’t be on next week, but is expected for the December 29 show that has Edge & Christian hosting. That won’t be announced until next week.

This week’s show was a bit better than what we’ve seen in the last month, but it still has a long way to go to become a consistently good show.

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That’s all for this week.

The 6th annual WWE Johnny Awards will be posted on or around Monday December 22. I may end up posting it on Saturday if it’s done by then like I had hoped, but next Monday is more likely.

This Tuesday at 10pmET it’s TJR Radio episode #54, which is our last show of the year. My co-hosts are The Ace and Justin Seagull. Joining us for the show this month is Jason Powell of Prowrestling.net (@prowrestlingnet). We’re going to talk about his career covering wrestling, current happenings in WWE and reflect on WWE in 2014. He’s a great guy that we look forward to talking to. If you can’t listen live that TJR Radio link will work after it’s over.

Check out my feature column archive that’s exclusive to WhatCulture.

Thanks for reading.

John Canton – mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport

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