One of Raw Reunion’s marquee attractions (though it’d be tough to top X-dow) got derailed in a hurry when Big Show decided to add his two cents to the Royal Rumble Legends Panel consisting of Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels. After the Legends discussed their Rumble experiences and debated who would win this year’s melee (for the record, HBK picked Bray Wyatt, Hogan pegged Daniel Bryan and “Naitch” threw his lot with Dean Ambrose), the giant thundered down to the ring. He took the veterans down a memory lane detour of the occasions on which they’d been subjected to Show’s own fury and proclaimed himself the inevitable winner of the contest seeing as no one (well, almost no one) can eliminate a giant. He even knocked out Flair for good measure. But Roman Reigns’ appearance evened the odds and proved the giant’s boasts wrong when he hauled all 450 pounds of him over the top rope.
Match 2 – Dean Ambrose def. Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett in a non title match
And just like that, the honeymoon’s over for Bad News Barrett, who thwarted Sin Cara on SmackDown to save his title but found himself ground to a halt when he came up against a fighting-mad Dean Ambrose on Raw. Ostensibly acting under The Authority’s orders to neutralize The Lunatic Fringe, Barrett quickly found himself fighting for his life against the former U.S. Champion, hungry for a win after several near misses against Bray Wyatt.
Ambrose came into the match ablaze, pestering Barrett with brutal, street-brawl style offense that sent the big Brit tumbling from the apron after only a few moments. The aggressive style aggravated Ambrose’s previously tweaked knee, but Barrett couldn’t capitalize, missing a wide-open window for the Bull Hammer and instead wandering headfirst into Dirty Deeds when his Wasteland follow-up fell short. Ric Flair may just be right yet.
The Ascension confronted The nWo: The Ascension have caught flack from JBL for comparing themselves to legendary tag teams who aren’t able to stick up for themselves. But the ascendant behemoths switched up their tactics a bit on “Raw Reunion,” confronting The nWo (that’s Kevin Nash, Scott Hall & X-Pac) moments after the renegade faction winkingly took credit for “anything great that has ever happened.” Their audacity provoked JBL to get up from the commentary table and summon Ron Simmons for an impromptu reunion of the APA. The New Age Outlaws arrived to stack the deck further and that was about all she wrote for The Ascension this time, as the Legends united against the NXT veterans to send them tumbling from the ring.
Match 3 – The New Day def. Cesaro & Tyson Kidd: Another rough day for “The Professional” and “The Fact-Dropper,” as Cesaro & Tyson Kidd once again failed to knock off the pesky positivity of The New Day. But this particular iteration – Kofi Kingston & Big E – didn’t so much overpower the two technicians as they caught a lucky break. Cesaro & Kidd, flanked as always by Natalya, Adam Rose and the Rosebuds, ran roughshod all over Kingston for most of the match, subjecting The Boom Squad General to a pair of pulverizing tag-team maneuvers. Kingston pulled the win out by the narrowest of margins, though, kicking Kidd off the apron and initiating a roll-up pin from atop Cesaro’s shoulders for the win. Even the Rosebuds were impressed.
Match 4 – Natalya & Paige def. Summer Rae & Alicia Fox: Despite a few disagreements here and there, it seems like Natalya & Paige might have something going for them as a duo. The Diva of Tomorrow and The Queen of Harts knocked off yet another tandem of the Divas division’s finest in the form of Summer Rae and Alicia Fox. They did this in almost perfect sync, it must be added, with Natalya superkicking Alicia into the P.T.O. while The Bella Twins watched with disdain from ringside. Perhaps the upcoming Divas Tag Team Match at the Royal Rumble will help settle this complicated score.
Match 5 – U.S. Champion Rusev def. R-Truth: Give R-Truth credit for having the gumption to face Rusev in the ring with no regard to The Super Athlete’s unpinned, untapped streak since his debut last year. But you’d think the former U.S. Champion would know what’s up by this point. Rusev made quick work of his foe, and even though Truth showed that the Russian monster could be tossed over the top rope in advance of the Royal Rumble Match, it was still an Accolade and a tap-tap-tap for the U.S. Champion.
Match 6 – WWE Tag Team Champion Jey Uso def. The Miz: The Miz has proclaimed that Damien Mizdow gives him not one, but two chances to win the Royal Rumble Match. Alas for the former WWE Tag Team Champion, he had one chance to lose to Jey Uso and that’s exactly what went down on Raw. In fact, Miz was so convinced he’d ultimately overpower the Tag Team Champion same in the same fashion as he did his brother that he remained completely oblivious to the titleholder’s building momentum, not to mention Jey’s ingenious manipulation of Mizdow. Uso hurled Miz into the turnbuckle and the stunt double followed suit, taking him out of the match and rendering both Mizzes unable to counter the big splash that followed. UCE!
Main Event – John Cena def. Seth Rollins, Kane & Big Show in a 3-on-1 Handicap Match: We cannot say if it was the right decision to make it a triple threat match. No matter how Cena won, it actually would not be a matter at the end, history books would only record one single thing; John Cena defeated Kane, Big Show and Seth Rollins in a three on one handicap match. Such things were not acceptable every time. It was certainly bad for Seth Rollins, this lad has a bright future in WWE, such a defeat is terrible for his future. The worst part was; Cena pinned Rollins for the win. I say, things could have been different. Like the authority allows a guest referee, or maybe a ring enforcer, things would still look difficult for John Cena. And if they were all set up to make things three on one, we think this match should not have go on for so long.
Now, talking about Sting’s debut on Monday Night Raw, well it was a bit unpredictable. As we all know, Sting is scheduled to make six appearances in his contract for WWE, including one at WrestleMania, so he had three more surprise entrances left. Unlike this one and the one in Survivor Series, hope those three would be pretty special.
The WWE Universe’s support landed John Cena in what ended up being a 3-on-1 Handicap Match against Seth Rollins, Kane & Big Show, and with his buddies’ jobs on the line, Team Cena’s guardian angel came through once again. Good thing, too, because up until that point, the bout hadn’t been so much a wrestling match as a public beating, dished out at great leisure by The Authority, which took no small amount of pleasure in humiliating the 15-time World Champion in his darkest hour.
After a spear from Big Show and a Chokeslam from Kane left Cena down, an image of Sting appeared on the TitanTron just as Seth Rollins was about to put his foe away with a Curb Stomp. What was seemingly a still image of the former WCW Champion turned out to be a live shot of the vigilante himself, who stalked to the top of the Raw ramp for the first time ever and distracted Rollins enough for Cena to steal the win with a roll-up and reinstate Dolph Ziggler, Ryback & Erick Rowan on the spot. Triple H’s irate demands for Sting to present himself again were instead answered by Brock Lesnar, who summarily laid waste to Kane and Big Show, though Rollins got away. This Sunday, he might not be so lucky.