All posts tagged Randy Orton

The Day After: Raw 12/29/14

Image Credit: WWE.com

Image Credit: WWE.com

A packed Raw with a couple of long matches, no celebrity guest host, and storyline developments?  Without cramming everyone on the roster into the broadcast?  Maybe they should think about a brand split again.  Perhaps it’s the live WWE experience talking but that was quite the development filled Raw to close the year out.  Let’s dissect.

Daniel Bryan is Back!

Let’s start with the biggest story coming out of Raw.  After teasing retirement on Twitter and during his promo, former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan announced he would be making his in-ring return in 4 weeks at the Royal Rumble.

It wasn’t quite the level of deception when salmon suited Mark Henry announced his retirement, but until he broke into the “No!” portion of his speech, Bryan was convincing.  After losing his father and everything we’ve heard over the past 6 months about his health troubles, Bryan having to walk away seemed plausible.

Instead, he will make his long-awaited return in one of the most important matches of the year, certainly shaking things up when it comes to predicting a winner for the 30-man match.  Roman Reigns seems to be the company’s choice, but reports have come out speculating guys like Ziggler could be given the nod.   Now add Bryan into the mix, one year after his 2014 Royal Rumble snub, AND Rollins’ Money in the Bank briefcase looming over the Cena-Lesnar match, the field of combatants for the championship match for WrestleMania is wide open.

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John Cena’s Fifth Man

Team Cena vs. Team Authority at Survivor Series in less than two weeks.

While the 5-on-5 match has been infiltrated by two unrelated 1-on-1 feuds, WWE has done a great job of making the rest of the participants matter to the actual storyline behind the match, with Luke Harper being the hot new wild card and Dolph Ziggler as a man without a country, whether he realizes it or not.

That being said, Team Cena is still one man short, after Jack Swagger was taken out by Seth Rollins. Here’s a look at possible 5th members of Team Cena:

1. The Ryback — We’ll need to check the archives, but Ryback might have just set the record for fastest face-heel-face turn in history. Flip-flopping aside, Ryback ended the night to a huge pop from the crowd after dismantling Team Authority, mere moments are whooping up on the Cenation leader himself. At this moment (and I don’t know what happens on SmackDown), Ryback seems like a shoo-in for that 5th spot, as he’s a fresh face, and looks rejuvenated after a trip through the midcard and time on the shelf.

However, WWE would be wise to leave Ryback off of Team Cena, but not remove his presence from this match/storyline. Ryback is at his most compelling when he’s a face, just not in the mold of a John Cena or Sheamus. The Big Guy has always has been underrated as a personality, demonstrating a complex and even compassionate side, just not on the big screen of Monday Night Raw. Without the proper motivation, joining Team Cena would erase all the fantastic character work Ryback has done as of late, and would immediately relegate him to the upper-midcard alongside Big Show and Sheamus. While there are certainly worse places to be in the WWE pecking order, keeping Ryback fresh and unique will allow him to maintain his perch at the top of the food chain.

2. Dean Ambrose — What happened here? While his feud with Bray Wyatt has a legitimate foundation, if there’s anyone that should be lining up to do battle to get the Authority out of power it should be Dean Ambrose. However, the fact that the anti-Authority faction has been dubbed Team Cena, it makes a little more sense that Ambrose would keep his distance.

Ambrose should form his OWN team of five guys that hate both the Authority and John Cena and make it a three-way dance for control of the company. It could be him, Ryback, the Miz, Mizdow, and Alberto del Rio.

Ultimately, it’s unlikely that Ambrose will round out Team Cena, as he’s ensconced with his Bray Wyatt program and despite the sudden appearance of Luke Harper, it doesn’t look like those strains will be crossing anytime soon. Long-term, hopefully Ambrose doesn’t fall into the same hole as the Rhodes brothers: someone with a compelling and legitimate beef with the Authority, but crowded out by the bigger names on the roster.

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The Day After: Raw 10/7/14

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The Rock Returns

Well, I guess we know why they cancelled the Rusev vs. Show match.

In a surprise appearance, the Rock showed up at last night’s Raw to a huge pop from the Brooklyn crowd to confront Rusev & Lana. The Russian duo had just called out the Big Show after berating him and the American people for racism for his “hate crime” against the Russian flag when the Great One’s music hit and we were treated to a classic Rocky promo before nailing Rusev with a few right hands to clear the ring.

I said something to this effect last night but it bears repeating: I don’t care if there’s no real pay off to a Rock/Rusev confrontation, if The Rock says he’ll show up to Raw  10 times out of 10 you put him on TV and let him do whatever. He’s simply too famous not to and Hollywood movie star versus evil foreign menace is an easy narrative to understand for casual fans flipping over from Monday Night Football. It was a true surprise in an era where shocking moments are few and far between and Rusev looks better for the interaction in my eyes.

No, he didn’t get any offense in, but in between Rock’s jabs about Moscow Mooseknuckles and Soviet Streetwalkers was the fact that the Rock recognized Rusev’s push. A huge WWE star like Rocky pointing out that nobody has been able to beat Rusev because he’s bigger, stronger, more dangerous than the rest is a good thing for building up Rusev. I thought Lana shone in the segment as well, never letting the Rock’s jabs get to her that much. I’m not going to address the misogyny discussion that always rears its head when Rock does a promo other than to wonder if the people who constantly bring this up have been watching wrestling for very long. Moving on…

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The Day After: Raw 9/22/14

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Dean in a Box

On a night where Raw was missing Roman Reigns, The Wyatt Family, Paul Heyman & WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar, the undisputed star of last night’s show was Dean Ambrose. Just returned from filming his WWE Studios film/face into cinderblock injury, Ambrose stepped into the vacant #2 hero role in spectacular fashion.

First by opening the show, Ambrose talked about his cinder block induced hiatus making him “a little loopy in the head,” as if he could get loopier, and stated his intentions to keep the war against Seth Rollins going because he never gets tired of punching him in the face. As he staged his sit-in, John Cena joined the fray wanting to get his hands on Rollins as well.

Cue the Authority in full force at the top of the stage. The 5 on 2 advantage don’t mean sh*t to Dean Ambrose and Mr. Never Give Up however as they brought the fight to the Authority to get their hands on Seth Rollins. One stage and backstage fracas later, Seth Rollins is stealing some jabrone’s car and Dean Ambrose is tumbling out of the trunk like a madman.

Triple H proceeds to make Kane vs. Ambrose and Orton vs. Cena later in the night, which makes Orton none too happy, teasing some dissension between Orton and the new golden boy Rollins for creating messes he has to clean up. Something to monitor perhaps?

Rollins would return later to attack Ambrose during his match with Kane and the two would brawl backstage again leading to Dean Ambrose being locked in a janitor’s closet by The Authority. This way they know he’ll be contained…or so they thought. The Authority forgot one thing: was there an exit in that closet?

Either by air vent, digging his way out, a drop ceiling, or Undertaker Magic, Ambrose’s confinement was short lived crashing the Authority’s plan to “Ambrose” John Cena and Raw ends with he and Cena standing tall.

Ok with the recap of events out of the way: Dean Ambrose is killing it. Tapping into an anti-authority mix of Stone Cold, CM Punk, and Roddy Piper, Ambrose was the most exciting aspect of a somewhat downbeat post-PPV Raw. From his disregard for his body by jumping into a moving car’s trunk to the overall presentation of the “character” (if you can call it that) he portrays, Ambrose is making the most of his return and his increased spotlight with the injury to Roman Reigns and he’s getting WAY over.

It’s a lofty comparison but much like the early days of Stone Cold Steve Austin on lackluster Raws, everything Dean Ambrose was involved in last night were the most interesting parts of the broadcast. I hope WWE sees they have something special brewing.

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The Day After: SummerSlam

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Excellent show from top to bottom. Almost everything that should have happened did, three titles changed hands, and we saw an absolute mauling. With heavy emphasis on said mauling, let’s take a look at last night’s results and your pal Louis’ thoughts.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Brock Lesnar def. John Cena with the F5 to win the Title.

3 F5s, 16 German Suplexes, and two gigantic fists put down the WWE proclaimed greatest World Heavyweight Champion last night. In one of the most decisive main event championship matches in WWE history, Brock Lesnar won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship for the 4th time over John Cena. All that was missing to make this a perfect night for Lesnar and Heyman was the return of the post show-press conferences and homage to this classic UFC post fight interview.

An unreal match to watch and a very entertaining spectacle. Anyone following WWE the past decade could not have expected John Cena to be put away in this fashion. I’ve been a wrestling fan for most of my life and I can’t recall ever seeing a pay-per-view main event match be so one-sided. Outside of two Cena “hope” moments, Lesnar dominated Cena from bell-to-bell. Kudos to Cena for taking a hell of a beating. I know it’s a work but I don’t want Brock Lesnar putting his hands on me even in a controlled environment. No thank you.

Looking forward there are a ton of directions WWE can go with the Beast Incarnate as champion. Obviously, building John Cena to “overcome” the odds and regain the belt is one path. Roman Reigns took another step towards being one of the big dogs by defeating Randy Orton tonight. There’s the David vs. Goliath possibility between a healthy Daniel Bryan and Brock Lesnar. And even heels like Rusev throwing their hat into the ring.

Now, we can assume Lesnar won’t be an every Raw/Smackdown type champion from his track record and Heyman’s interview with Dukes last week, but there could be a lot of fun challengers you could line up for his appearances to stretch his reign until WrestleMania 31. How fun would Sheamus and Lesnar blasting each other be? Can you imagine Dean Ambrose refusing to stay down battling the Beast? Is there any bigger star coming out of Guardians of the Galaxy than Dave Bautista? What if he returned for a PPV matchup against Brock? That could be a HUGE money match with mainstream appeal. As long as they don’t blow their wad with an immediate Cena rematch, this could be an incredible run we’re about to experience.

Another interesting way this could go is a clash with the Authority.  Brock Lesnar is out for Brock Lesnar.  Friction could develop once Lesnar doesn’t comply with the Authority’s demands. Having an active champion was a point of emphasis for Daniel Bryan vacating the title, could this be the crack in the currently chummy relationship between Team Lesnar and Triple H?

Stay tuned. This could get fun. Hit the jump for more from last night’s show.

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