Raw opens with an angry Seth Rollins walking down to the ring. He is not happy after getting slimed by Dean Ambrose last week. He reminds everyone what happened last week to close out Raw, curbstomps to Ambrose and John Cena. Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury suddenly appear ringside pleading with Seth to leave the ring. An undisturbed Rollins says the attention he is getting is what he lives for. Out of nowhere John Cena runs in the ring to attack Seth. Rollins narrowly escapes the attack and makes it to the crowd. As he is gloating in the crowd a stealth Dean Ambrose appears. He pounces on Rollins and begins to go to town. Rollins escapes that onslaught but is met by Cena at the barricade. Mercury and Noble try pulling Cena off of Rollins but coming in through the air is Ambrose. Finally a little order is restored when The Authority come down to the ring. Stephanie McMahon says she will not allow the show to descend into chaos because Rollins did not want to take their advice and not provoke Cena or Ambrose. The Authority grant Cena and Ambrose the chance to get their hands on Rollins…sort of. Cena and Ambrose will be taking on Rollins, and his partners Kane and Randy Orton in a three on one handicap match.
We get a recap of Big Show pulling down the Russian flag and him apologizing for it on SmackDown. A lot has been made of the situation and most fans think it is ridiculous that Big Show is apologizing for a segment. While I did share the same sentiment, WWE continuously running the footage of Show pulling the flag down leads me to believe that WWE really did not receive much backlash from the incident, possibly none at all. By creating the idea that Russian people were offended it makes them come off much like Rusev and Lana, stoic, uptight, and full of no fun.
Back from a commercial break for our first match of the evening.
Goldust, Stardust, and Cesaro vs. The Usos and Dolph Ziggler
This was definitely the match of the night. What made the match so good was the flow of it. Starts off slow and just gradually builds to fast paced high flying action. Dolph Ziggler is way over with the fans which seems to be the theme as of late. Since winning the Intercontinental Championship Dolph has been placed in a ton of tag matches. Every tag match the crowd’s focus is how bad they want Ziggler in the ring. Now I know what you are thinking, Raw being in NYC (one of the most notorious wrestling cities in America) of course the audience being comprised of mostly diehard wrestling fans is going to cheer for Ziggler. But the response is the same when WWE is in Milwaukee or another city with a not so large wrestling fan base. Favorite part of the match was the triple superkick. Nothing like a well placed superkick with a well timed leg slap to put a smile on my face.
Winners: Dolph Ziggler and The Usos
Back from commercial break with Adam Rose and the Exotic Express coming down to the ring with Kathy Lee and Hoda, hosts of the Today Show or Good Morning America I don’t know. Now the whole point of the ladies being on the show is to promote the partnership of WWE and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. To be honest it just looked like two women babbling about some wine. I get that WWE is trying to do great things outside of wrestling and WWE’s work with other charities is one thing that has always kept me as a loyal WWE fan. However, know your audience. Again while it’s awesome WWE does such great work and yes it should be given time to shine, I’m sure there were fans in attendance who paid very good money to see a wrestling show. Furthermore why not take a week to raise awareness for other cancer research efforts? Prostate cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer, etc. I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer or come off as someone who’s fallen into the contrariness nature of the times, I’m just willing to admit that WWE has a way of forcing things down are throat in such a way that it’s hard to see if they’re trying to do something good or it’s another desperate attempt at gaining attention.
After the debacle of Kathy Lee and Hoda we get another vignette showcasing Luke Harper. Later on in the show we see our theories for the Wyatt Family may not be on the right track.
Bo Dallas vs. Mark Henry
Nothing too spectacular about this match. Teasing a World’s Strongest Slam on the announce table only to have Bo escape and win via count out was an interesting way to end it. I’m just glad Bo Dallas just has some direction.
Winner via count out: Bo Dallas
Back from break with Dean Ambrose coming down to the ring. Ambrose says John Cena has been getting under his skin. He flashes back to SmackDown where Cena abandoned Ambrose in their tag match to go after Seth Rollins. Cena left Ambrose to get a beat down from Randy Orton and Kane. He calls John Cena out to the ring which Cena answers. The two trade words back and forth about how they don’t care for each other and would drop one another if need be. Ambrose says he’s hungry and could go for a hot dog…so he’s taking the Q train to Coney Island! He’s leaving Cena all alone for the handicap match.
Backstage Cena is confronted by Triple H who sarcastically throws Cena’s troubles in his face. He says since Ambrose skipped out on their match, it’ll be a three on one handicap match instead. To throw Cena a little bone Rollins is obligated to start the match. Triple H parts with these words, “Keep calm and never give up.” Ouch.
Brie Bella (one arm tied behind her back) vs. Summer Rae
To me Summer Rae has the potential to be a great heel Diva sort of like a Michelle McCool. I’ve always been a fan of Brie Bella. It may be due to her husband being Daniel Bryan but to me she seems to grasp the mechanics of putting together a match a lot better than what most fans give her credit for. And c’mon, she’s out there keeping the Yes Movement strong while her husband recoups is pretty cool. I’m a sucker for WWE logically using reality with their program. Key word: LOGICALLY.
Winner: Brie Bella
We’re backstage in Kane’s dressing room when in come The Miz and Damien Miz-dow. They sent Kane an organic LA fruit basket that Kane really doesn’t care for. He puts Miz in a match against Sheamus.
Jack Swagger vs. Tyson Kidd
More Tyson Kidd please. He showed why he is a mainstay in the NXT main event scene. Solid match. In this case a loss for Kidd did more for him than a win could.
Winner: Jack Swagger
Back from break with a quick (and I mean quick) update from Roman Reigns who joins Raw live via satellite. He’s still hurt but he’s getting better.
El Torito vs. Mini-Gator
Back from break with Rusev and Lana coming down to the ring. It’s the usual “America is stupid, Russia is great” rhetoric from Lana. She informs us Big Show is suspended for desecrating the Russian flag. Rusev grabs the mic and says America is no super-power, America is nothing. Rusev calls out Big Show. Rusev continues to insult Big Show and America when over the speakers we hear “IF YA SMELLLLLL” and out comes The Rock. this was completely unexpected which is why it is such a special moment. You can feel the electricity, no one is sitting down, and the roar of the crowd is like thunder.
This. This is The Rock I want to see. The catchphrases, the quick wit, insults on the fly. Not the Rock who automatically gets put into the WrestleMania main event out of nowhere. The best part: IT WAS A SURPRISE! Treated like it was a covert mission almost. I felt like a kid.
Alicia Fox and Paige vs. AJ Lee and Emma
Okay match. Nothing memorable so if you’re watching this using DVR functions, this one is skip worthy. Where’s the end game with this whole AJ/Paige thing? Are they just going to awkwardly stare at each other till the end of time? AJ was a little annoyed by her partner which causes her to pull a John Cena and abandon Emma to lose.
Winners: Paige and Alicia Fox
We get another Wyatt Family vignette but this time it showcases somewhat of a back story to Erick Rowan. While it is hard to decode Bray’s cryptic words what I get from the video is Erick Rowan for some reason was teased and tormented as a kid. Growing to become an outcast it wasn’t until he met Bray he finally realizes this untapped potential for chaos and the chance to unleash it on those who did him wrong. The vignette ends with what looks to be a pregnant stomach with “It’s Coming” written on it. A lot can be said about how the WWE has used the Wyatt Family, but I’ll never get tired of hearing Bray Wyatt’s apocalyptic prophecies.
The Miz vs. Sheamus
BREAKING NEWS: I am becoming a fan of Sheamus. He’s just an Irish guy that likes to beat people up. WWE should run with that but try not to run it into the ground. In not so much breaking news I am also starting to like The Miz, but only so I can see more of Sandow commit so much of himself to being The Miz’s stunt double. He’s just so good at it and he knows how to use it to get people to talk about him. The crowd was definitely more into Sandow than they were The Miz and sure you can chalk that up to the Brooklyn crowd again being a knowledgeable wrestling audience but I wouldn’t be surprised if Sandow’s popularity begins to increase week by week. The only danger is you definitely should be looking to the future and turning Sandow face. A Miz/Sandow feud is certainly a great jumping off point but what do you do after? Miz wins the contest after a distraction from his stunt double.
Winner: The Miz
Afterward we are joined by legendary TV personality Joan Lunden who is battling cancer herself. While I have been vocal against the partnership with Susan G. Komen here’s what matters: Cancer is a horrible disease that has affected every single person in one way or another. It is important to get screened regularly and to raise awareness till cancer is a thing of the past. Research what organizations are giving the most back to the cause and make sure your efforts go solely to helping the preventions of all cancers.
John Cena vs. Randy Orton, Kane, and Seth Rollins
With less than ten minutes to go in the show I highly doubt we’ll see a five star contest that needs in depth coverage. I mean it was pretty much a given Ambrose would come back to the Barclays Center to get some measure of revenge.
After the chaos of hot dogs and condiments The Authority comes out to inform Ambrose and Cena that at Hell in a Cell both men will face each other and the winner will go on to face Seth Rollins inside of a steel cage. Cena turns around and Ambrose takes him out with a double underhook DDT and the show closes.
Final Thoughts: If I had to give this show a grade I’d say it deserved a C+. If it weren’t for The Rock making a surprise appearance this show wouldn’t have been as good. As is the case with most lackluster Raw episodes it was too much talking and too much shilling of things completely unrelated to the product and program.