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RAW Recap – “Swinging for the Fences”

February 17, 2014
Denver, CO (live)

Ring
Cole welcomes us to RAW and John Cena’s music welcomes the man to the ring. Cena has the Elimination Chamber on his mind, and the spot against Batista at Wrestlmania is where he wants to be.He mentions that Orton has been beaten by Bryan and himself recently, but he fails to mention a certain man…

Cesaro walks out with Colter and says he will become the new face of America! Cena gets in Cesaro’s face and says he isn’t on a winning streak, but that Orton’s on a losing streak. Cena isn’t his usual jovial self. Is he taking Cesaro seriously? He better.

Sheamus, on the other hands, has smiles and jokes as he threatens some dental work in the Chamber courtesy of his foot. Christian follows soon behind and reminds Sheamus that he screwed up their tag match recently. He’s starting some heat with Sheamus when The Viper’s music hits and Orton emerges.

Orton thanks The Authority for giving him an opportunity and proceeds to downplay his recent losses. Just as he mentions “face” Bryan hits the stage to a sea of Yes chants and a doge sign in the crowd. Such beard.

Bryan lets the crowd talk for him… then talks a little himself. He says he’s worked too hard to miss out on Wrestlemania and I agree. The crowd does too. Yes. Then fire and a haggard looking Kane hits the ring to a very loud “you sold out” chant. But Kane is in charge tonight. We already know that Orton and Sheamus are spoken for, but he pairs off the other guys in the ring so we will get to see Cesaro vs. Cena and Christian vs. Bryan. Nice. Not terribly original or thought provoking, but these will be good.

Bryan stares down Kane but Christian takes advantage and attacks Bryan from behind. It looks like Christian is going heel and I approve. I think he’ll do better as a heel at this point. He’s enjoying laying a beating to his opponent before the match even starts. They hit the floor and Bryan is tossed into the steps as we head to our first…

-Commercial-

Match 1
Singles Match
Daniel Bryan vs. Christian
Charles Robinson asks Bryan if he’s okay to go as we come back from the break. He nods yes but his arm is already in trouble. The bell rings and the match is officially underway. Kicks to Christian’s thigh but Christian controls Bryan’s arm to slow him down. A few European uppercuts send Christian to the floor. Bryan goes for a dive but is met with a punch before he leaves his feet.

Back in the ring Christian applies a Fujiwara armbar. Bryan pushes Christian off the ropes but a shoulder block by Christian continues the punishment on the arm. Christian hammer locks the arm and body slams Bryan to the mat. Bryan is back up but downed with a bag elbow for a 2 count. Christian mounts Bryan and Bryan almost turns it into a half crab before Christian gets some space. a tornado DDT to Bryan gets Christian another 2 count.

A series of head butts to Bryan’s arm and Christian starts playing to the crowd. He runs towards Bryan but a low bridge send him to the floor. Bryan seizes the moment and hits a dive to the floor leading to a…

-Commercial-

Bryan is getting to his feet as we rejoin the match. Bryan is sent into the turnbuckle but back flips over Christian and hits a flying clothesline! Kick to the chest and head send Christian to the mat. 2 count! Bryan is on the top rope but Christian gets his knees up just enough to stop the attack. 2 count. Bryan is gaining momentum but Christian shuts him down with boots and an elbow. He starts stalking Bryan. He goes for a Kill Switch but Bryan reverses and tries for a Yes Lock! He can’t quite get it and Christian is up and send Bryan into the corner. He tries to set up the Kill Switch again but Bryan escapes and rolls up Christian to get the three count!
Result
Daniel Bryan wins via pinfall with a rollup

Match Thoughts
Good heel and ring psychology by Christian. He went after Bryan’s are ruthlessly and his attitude is a welcome change. I’ve always liked Christian, but this “one more match” thing has gone onĀ  a little long. He already had one more match last year. And he lost. He should be fed up and I think that’s coming through well. He dominated the match but Bryan won though his perseverance. Good stuff.

Ring
Kane congratulates Bryan but he failed to mention something. Bryan has another match tonight. With Kane. Right now. He takes it to Bryan before Daniel rolls out to the floor to try and catch a breather as we break for a…

-Commercial-

Match 2
Singles Match
Daniel Bryan vs. Kane
Kane is dominating as the match is already underway when RAW goes back on the air. Stomps and knees and Bryan is in trouble. Bryan tries a hangman on the apron but Kane powers him up and suplexes him into the ring for a 2 count. Kane hammer locks the bad arm and rams Bryan shoulder first into the turnbuckle. A few more stomps and Bryan manages to hit that hangman!

Up top and Bryan drops Kane with a dropkick. He goes for his trademark kicks but Kane shoves him by the throat to the floor. A shoulder rams Bryan into the barricade. Kane wraps up Bryan’s arm around the post. Charles Robinson is counting for him to release the hold but calls the match when he reaches 5.
Result
Daniel Bryan wins via DQ after refusing to release an illegal maneuver.

Match Thoughts
Not much of a match. It was a statement by Kane. Bryan had practically no offense. It just served to build heel heat for Kane (I guess it did a little) and set up a weakness for Bryan going into the Chamber match.

Backstage
Renee Young has The Shield and asks Reigns about Mark Henry. Ambrose says he softened up Henry for Reigns and the two of them have a little back and forth. Rollins says there is no trouble in The Shield. Ambrose says The Wyatt’s are an illusion. Reigns tells us to believe in The Shield. Rollins, like the rest of us, seems unsure.

-Commercial-

Ring
Fandango and Summer Rae are already in the ring as Santino and Emma power walk and gyrate to the ring. They show a short video package of Emma on NXT to let us know that yes, she can wrestle.

Match 3
Singles Match
Fandango vs. Santino Marella
Santino backs Fandango into the corner with some kicks. Off the ropes and Santino power walks into a knee and some stomps. A back elbow and Fandango gets a 2 count. Fandango hits a head butt and a short arm clothesline but misses with a knee drop. Santino hits a splits chin breaker to gain some space. Big time hip toss and Santino salutes while dropping a head butt. The cobra emerges from Santino’s singlet but Summer Rae tries to distract which leads Emma to put her in an airplane spin which leaves both women a bit loopy.

Santino and Emma gaze into each others eyes and draw closer together… until Fandango breaks it up, hits a falcon arrow and gets the win.
Result
Fandango wins via pinfall with a falcon arrow

Match Thoughts
Short match, but it made me smile. Santino and Emma are great together! I really want them to put Emma in the ring though. They seem to slowly be building that way with the physicality of the ladies at ringside.

Backstage
Renee stops Mark Henry and asks him how he will fare tonight. Henry is not happy. He should’ve won last week. Tonight’s not about winning or losing though, it’s about inducting someone into the Hall of Pain.

The Shield makes their way through the crowd and get ready for a…

-Commercial-

Ring
Theodore Roosevelt reminds us to speak softly and carry a big stick for this President’s Day.

Match 4
Singles Match
Roman Reigns vs. Mark Henry
The two big men eye each other and Reigns starts with some punches. Henry reverses an Irish whip and staggers Reigns with a big boot. Reigns fights out of the corner and drops Henry to one knee with a chin lock. Reigns ducks a clothesline and hits a big samoan drop! 2 count.

Henry drops Reigns with a standing head butt followed by a JYD head butt! Henry hits an avalanche in one corner but Reigns powers Henry to the mat in the other corner. Superman Punch by Reigns! Henry gets up but takes a spear and the match is over!
Result
Roman Reigns wins via pinfall after a spear

Match Thoughts
Good power match though pretty short. Reigns showed some serious strength but Henry didn’t get a lot in this one. I fell kind of bad for Henry lately. These last few weeks with The Shield and the stuff with Lesnar. I hope he gets a decent showing at ‘Mania at least.

Ring
Rollins was super pumped about Reign’s victory. Ambrose not so much. Ambrose lays some boots to Henry but Rollins and Reigns wonder what he’s doing. Then… SHEEP! The Wyatt family is on the tron and Bray speaks about the end. Was it worth it? Harper asks if they are willing to die. Reigns grabs a mic and tells them to say it to his face. Bray is of the same mind and Rowan tells everyone to run. Lights out.

The Wyatts take their time getting to the ring. Bray steps in and Reigns steps up. Everyone lines up before Bray signals his sheep to leave the ring. They Wyatt Family backs off as we head to a…

-Commercial-

Backstage
Cody is playing with some toys. Goldust talks about what he did as a kid. Morbid. Bad News Barrett has some bad news. A kick to the play set. And that’s it. No punch line. Nothing. Sure, why not.

Match 5
Singles Match
Kofi Kingston vs. Jack Swagger
Swagger quickly drives Kofi into the corner and pummels him with fists and feet. Kofi fights back with a flurry of his own! Kofi is sent into the corner and tries to leap over Swagger but is met with a huge wheel barrow suplex! 2 count! Swagger drives Kofi into the corner and drops him with a short arm clothesline. 1 count.

Swagger tries to wear down Kofi but he gets to his feet. Off the ropes, he tries to slide between Swagger’s legs but is caught and once again sent into the corner. Swagger bomb! 2 count! A shoulder to Kofi’s back sends him to the mat. Swagger whips Kofi into the corner with authority. Again into the corner, Kofi leaps from the second rope into a dropkick! Kofi builds momentum but is caught. Off of the second rope Kofi hits a splash to the back of a bent over Swagger.

Swagger tries to throw Kofi out but he bounces off of the top rope and hits SOS! 2 count that was so close but Swagger got his foot on the rope! Swagger now uses leverage to get Kofi out of the ring but he’s back in super fast with a cross body from the top and a 2 count! Swagger rolls over and transitions beautifully on the Patriot Lock for the win!
Result
Jack Swagger wins via submission with the Patriot Lock

Match Thoughts
Very good match. Great back and forth and the false finish with the foot on the ropes by Swagger was awesome! Great transition by Swagger into the Patriot Lock for the win. These guys are both fantastic. I could see Swagger take the IC Title for a run.

Ring
Swagger gets no time to celebrate as Big E’s music plays and the big man walks to the ring. He stares down Swagger as we head to a…

-Commercial-

Match 6
Handicap Match
Big E Langston (IC Champ) vs. Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal
Drew out to the floor as Big E manhandles Mahal. Drew trips Langstonas two thirds of 3MB gang up on the champ. Zeb has a mic and is not impressed. Drew is out again and a shoulder block downs Mahal. He takes a few rib breakers before Drew gets a single leg drop kick. 3MB is back in control and punish Big E. Zeb continues to talk. Big E mounts a comeback and dumps out Drew again. A pair of clotheslines and a pair of belly to belly suplexes lead to a double big splash! Mahal takes an overhead belly to belly into his partner! Then two Big Endings and Big E takes the victory.
Result
Big E Langston wins via pinfall on Drew McIntyre after a Big Ending

Match Thoughts
I don’t much care for handicap matches and this was no exception. Zeb on the mic just made for a messy distraction on top of a bit of a mess of a match. There were some good feats of strength by Big E, but this was just to try and build up the IC Title match and get some interest in the feud. I think it’ll be a really good match already so this one tonight didn’t do much for me.

Ring
Big E responds to Zeb saying that he’s full of crap. Classy.

Video
A backstage promo of Lana building up Alexander Rusev.

-Commercial-

Video
Black History Month continues by honoring the legendary Ron Simmons! Cameo by a young Dustin Rhodes during Simmons’ celebration after becoming the first black world champ in history!

Video
Video package of The Elimination Chamber match. Every man for himself, Lexan pods, and a Wrestlemania title match. So here’s a question: which is the harder way to get into the main event at Wrestlemania? The Royal Rumble or The Elimination Chamber? The numbers are stacked against you more in the Rumble, but you’re going to take a lot more punishment in the Chamber. If you start early in either match you’re in for a very long night. Later entrants have an advantage but victory is never guaranteed. Personally, I’d rather take my chance in the Rumble.

Backstage
Renee Young asks Cena about Cesaro. He says the young guys have to go through him to prove that they are worthy. He might be right. Daniel Bryan has already beaten him. For the title in a PPV setting. I think he’s arrived. So how about Cesaro?

Ring
Cena hits the ring and looks like he’s ready to go, just as we go to a…

-Commercial-

Video
Gilette Fusion Proglide shows up the final moments of last week’s Smackdown main event where Cesaro beat Orton clean!

Match 7
Singles Match
John Cena vs. Antonio Cesaro
The men circle the ring and lock up. Cesaro gets a quick 1 count with a school boy and the go back to the lock up. Cesaro with a hammer lock into a side headlock. Cena switches and takes Cesaro to the mat. They both get back up and Cesaro sends Cena off of the ropes. A shoulder block and a hip toss from Cena prompt Cesaro to huddle up with his teammates.

Back in the ring they tie up once again with Cena gaining a wristlock and the advantage. Cesaro switches, drops Cena’s elbow across his shoulder and applies a side head lock. A headlock take down send Cena to the mat. Cesaro is sent off of the ropes and gets a shoulder block followed by a huge tilt-a-whirl backbreaker! 2 count!

Cesaro lands a European uppercut and a double stomp for a 2 count. He controls Cena’s arm as the Cena chants start. A hip toss frees Cena but a low bridge sends Cena to the floor! He thinks about it, then follows Cena to the outside. Cesaro tosses Cena into the barricade and gets back into the ring. Cena gets a hangman on his way back in but takes a dropkick from Cesaro. Two 2 count and Cesaro goes to a rear chinlock.

Cena is up and gets Cesaro in a fireman’s carry, but Cesaro grabs the ropes to escape and brings Cena down with a hangman of his own. An elbow drop from the ropes gets Cesaro another 2 count. He starts to punish Cena with a stomp and a knee to the gut, but he took too much time and Cena explodes with a half nelson into a neckbreaker! 2 count!

Cena is whipped into the ropes and falls to the apron. A baseball slide send Cena all the way to the floor which send us to a…

-Commercial-

Cena is fighting out of a hold in the center of the ring as we get back to the action. Cesaro boots Cena in the gut but Cena responds with a punch and a hurricanrana! Cena goes for a cross body block but Cesaro catches him and sends Cena up and over with a fall away slam! Cesaro bridges the slam and gets a 2 count! Cesaro absorbs some punches and gets Cena in a sleeper hold. Cena drives him back first into the corner but Cesaro rebounds with a clothesline and a 2 count!

Back in the sleeper, Cesaro is once again driven into the corner. Cena looks to build momentum with his shoulder block combo, but Cesaro counters the blue thunder driver and sets up the Cesaro Swing! Cena grabs the foot and looks for the STF! Cesaro pushes him off and muscles Cena into a big gut wrench suplex for a 2 count!

Cesaro follows up with punches in the corner an another European uppercut. Cena sidesteps Cesaro in the corner and hits the blue thunder driver but he looks worn down. He signals for and gets the Five Knuckle Shuffle. He sets up the Attitude Adjustment but Cesaro drops to his feet, pushes Cena into the ropes, and launches Cena into the air for another huge European uppercut! 2 count!

Cesaro signals for the swing. He sets it up but Cena sits up and delivers a DDT for a 2 count! Cena climbs to the second rope but Cesaro hits another uppercut and Cena drops all the way to the floor! Cena makes it to the apron, but Cesaro helps him in the rest of the way with a second rope superplex from the outside! 2 count! And another 2 count!

Cesaro gets in Cena’s face but Cena gets into the STF! Cesaro inches towards the ropes. He’s almost there so Cena gets up to drag Cesaro back to the center of the ring. As he does Cesaro gets to his back, pushes Cena off with his feet and transitions seamlessly into the Cesaro Swing! 13 revolutions but only a 2 count!

Cesaro sets up the Neutralizer but Cena reverses into the Attitude Adjustment! Cesaro lands on his feet, bounces off the ropes and build momentum only to be floored by a clothesline! Cena flips over Cesaro and brings him from the mat into an AA! He hits it this time and earns a hard won victory!
Result
John Cena wins via pinfall after an Attitude Adjustment

Match Thoughts
Really great match! I really thought Cesaro could have won that. Even though he didn’t he made a name for himself tonight. Great transitions, great story telling, great shows of strength. Just a great match. I really don’t see Orton Sheamus topping this for match of the night. They should just end the show now.

-Commercial-

Video
Abraham Lincoln talks about fools on President’s Day.

Backstage
Orton appreciates Triple H. Triple H thinks that’s great. He appreciates the effort. They said “appreciate” way too much in this segment. Batista didn’t appreciate it. Then he says “ass”. Triple H smirks because he likes, uh, ass. Del Rio shows up in a big neck brace, but he’s going t break Batista’s arms at the Chamber. Tonight though? He gets pain.

Backstage
Renee announces a new match sign for Elimination Chamber: Titus O’Neil vs. Darren Young. Titus introduces himself and asks Renee to spell. She gets it wrong. Titus gets worked up and talks about the rise of Titus O’Neil. That was a pretty good promo. I really hope they get a decent reaction at the Chamber, both of those guys deserve it.

Ring
Los Matadores bull fight their way to the ring and get ready for a…

-Commercial-

Ring
The Wyatt Family is at ringside and ready to roll over some masked guys heading towards the Chamber.

Match 8
Six Man Tag Team Match
Los Matadores & Sin Cara vs. The Wyatt Family
Rowan starts with Diego. flattens Diego and tags in Harper. Some elbows and a body slam lead to a Wyatt 2 count. Bray tags in and pounds the back of Diego’s head with a series of elbows. Wyatts are in complete control as Rowan is tagged back in. Fist vice to Diego’s head and an elbow for a 2 count.

Harper back in and a gator roll transitions into a chin lock. Diego hits a chin breaker but Harper stops the tag. Eziguiri and Sin Cara is tagged in. Sin Cara flies and gets harper down for 2. Rowan breaks up the count but is sent to the outside. After catching El Torito both Matadores dive to the outside and take out Rowan. Sin Cara tries to mount some offense but is downed with a huge Harper clothesline. Bray is in for Sister Abigail and it’s all over.
Result
The Wyatt family wins via pinfall (Bray Wyatt on Sin Cara after Sister Abigail)

Match Thoughts
Very one sided but that’s expected being the last RAW before Elimination Chamber. The crowd was pretty quiet, probably worn out after Cena vs Cesaro. It does see, like a bit of a let down after such a good, high energy match. Nothing wrong with this one, but nothing spectacular either. Just a good build up for the PPV.

-Commercial-

Ring
The New Age Outlaws are already in the ring and Road Dogg looks agitated. Sing along time and two words. Then the Usos hit the stage for Siva Tau.

Match 9
Singles Match (Road Dogg and Jimmy Uso on commentary)
Jey Uso vs. Billy Gunn (Tag Team Champ)
The competitors tie up and Jey escapes from a powerful Gunn. Jey takes a few punches but lands a hip toss and an arm drag which get Billy to roll to the outside. Back in the ring Jey is flattened with a clothesline. 1 count.

Billy slows the pace with punches and another quick cover. He applies a rear chinlock and Jimmy and Dogg continue to take over the booth. Billy punishes Jey in the ropes and corner. Billy goes for the Fame-Asserbut Jey spins out of the way and takes the victory with a school boy rollup.
Result
Jey Uso wins via pinfall with a rollup.

Match Thoughts
Okay match. Short. A good way to build a little interest for the tag title match at the Chamber this Sunday. The PPV is shaping up pretty well in my opinion. The commentary was a bit distracting again. Seems to be a theme tonight.

Backstage
Byron Saxton has Sheamus. The Irish warrior doesn’t have a problem getting aggressive and he has an antidote for the Viper: blunt force trauma. I think he meant antivenom.

-Commercial-

Video
Franklin D Roosevelt fears fear on President’s Day.

Ring
Orton’s music starts up and the champ heads to the ring where we will see the Celtic Vipers explode! Fun fact: The annoying habit of the crowd chanting for the commentating booth happened during an Orton vs Sheamus match last year. It was funny then, but never again after that.

Match 10
Non-Title Singles Match
Randy Orton (WWE World Heavyweight Champ) vs. Sheamus
Orton points to the ‘Mania 30 sign and the to men lock up. “CM Punk” chant breaks out immediately but quickly dies down. They go to the corner and break. Side head lock by Sheamus, off the ropes and Orton slides out after taking a shoulder block. Now Sheamus points. Man, how many times will people be pointing at that thing over the next month? A lot.

Sheamus takes control with some strikes and a suplex. Orton slithers back to the floor. Sheamus gives chase but takes a post for his troubles. He then slams Orton into the announce table before a series of knees back in the ring. 2 count.

Sheamus gets hung up on the ropes after he misses a Brouge kick. Orton pushes him into the post again and Sheamus is on the floor as we head to a…

-Commercial-

Back from the break and Orton has a rear chin lock in the middle of the ring. A few elbows and Sheamus suplexes his way out of the hold. A clothesline drives Sheamus to the floor. Sheamus twice sends Orton into the barricade. He then gets reversed into taking a very weak shot into the steps. Orton now sets Sheamus up on the top rope but Sheamus fights him off. A big leaping shoulder block from Sheamus and both men are slow to get up. Orton heads to the announce table and drives Sheamus back first through the table.

Orton’s back in as the ref counts. He makes it to 9 before Sheamus rolls back in. Face down, Sheamus is subjected to an Orton Stomp. Sheamus explodes with some axe handles and a shoulder to the gut but Orton lands a power slam! 2 count! Orton goes for his rope DDT but Sheamus reverses and lands his forearms to the chest instead. He brings Orton in with a fireman’s carry but the champ slides free and hits a back breaker.

He hits the DDT on his second attempt and he’s feeling. RKO is countered and followed up by three Irish Curse back breakers. Sheamus is setting up the Brogue Kick when The Shield hits the ring.
Result
Sheamus wins via DQ when The Shield attacks

Match Thoughts
Average match at best. The crowd was still out of it. Cesaro vs Cena should have been the main event but I get that they wanted to end with the big twelve man melee.

Ring
Cena rushes to the ring followed by Bryan, Cesaro and Christian. The lights go out and The Shield is face to face with The Wyatt Family! They converge and everyone gets back into the ring. Chaos reigns as the screen fades to black.

Impressions
A really great second hour main event and some other good stuff before that made this an enjoyable RAW. The last hour ran out of gas but that Cena Cesaro match was hard to follow. Also, the ending melee didn’t make much sense logically. Why did The Shield attack Sheamus? Just to make a statement by attacking someone? If that’s the case then why did Reign’s look so perplexed when Ambrose attacked Mark Henry earlier in the night. If The Shield wanted The Wyatt they had their chance earlier in the night. And if I’m in the Chamber why would I see my opponents getting attacked by people I don’t like and then be compelled to risk injury less than a week before a brutal title match by jumping into the fray? I wouldn’t, and none of those guys should have. Especially Christian who is being kind of a jerk anyway. Oh well, it didn’t ruin the show but pointless decisions like that are annoying.

Oh, and where were the Divas tonight? Emma and Summer Rae made a cameo but come on.The longest reigning Divas Champ ever doesn’t get on RAW and doesn’t even have a match at the PPV in less than a week? It could be that Naomi was supposed to face her and Aksana completely screwed things up with that horrible knee to her face, but you can’t book something last minute to get the champ on PPV? I think you can. And should.

Anyway, it was a good last RAW before Elimination Chamber. Most of the matches and segments built interest for the show and the new additions are welcome.

Match of the Night
Antonio Cesaro vs. John Cena
Pretty easy choice here. The Bryan/Christian and Swagger/Kofi matches were both really good for different reasons, but tonight was Cesaro’s night. Will Elimination Chamber be his night too? He’s still a long shot but his chances just got better.

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