Spoilers follow for the March 2nd episode of Raw.
Seth Rollins gets to kick off Raw this week, coming down the ramp with his bodyguards, J&J Security. A segment from Jon Stewart’s show, on which Rollins was a guest, is shown. Stewart was invited to Raw this week, and he accepted. Stewart will be here tonight, Rollins tells us. He taunts Stewart for a bit, but then Roman Reigns down from the crowd.
Reigns comes down and says he’s here just to let Rollins talk and get “You suck!” chants. Rollins says he can out-wrestle Reigns, which is 100% true. That dastardly truth-telling heel! Reigns eventually punches Rollins and then beats up J&J Security.
After the commercial break, Rollins is seen backstage, hurting. Randy Orton comes up to him and tells him how embarrassing that was. Orton tells Rollins he should demand a one-on-one match with Reigns tonight to prove himself. Rollins doesn’t, even though we later get told that, yes, they’ll have a match. Rollins and Orton have a bit of a staredown.
Bad News Barrett vs. Dean Ambrose
R-Truth is once again on commentary, because someone backstage thinks that’s a good idea. They’re wrong.
Barrett and Ambrose have a decent match for most of the time. Barrett dominates most of it early, losing control once he goes over to shove R-Truth. Ambrose then beats up on Barrett, while Truth steals the Intercontinental Championship just like he did on Smackdown last week. I love when good matches are distracted by shenanigans. Luke Harper then shows up randomly behind the commentators and motions for Truth to give him the belt, which he does. Harper then walks away with the belt. This distracts Barrett and lets Ambrose hit a Dirty Deeds and pick up the win.
Match Rating: **1/2
The Miz invites a whole bunch of the people backstage to the premiere of the commercial he shot last week. One of those people is Eva Marie, so this is the best Raw ever.
The “commercial” is for erectile dysfunction, so of course it’s “funny.” Everyone laughs at him. Miz yells at and eventually slaps Damien Sandow. They look at one another angrily for a bit. Sandow eventually apologizes to Miz. I have a feeling they’re not getting a match at WrestleMania, but that’ll be where Sandow finally turns on Miz.
Bray Wyatt gets to cut a live promo in front of the crowd. There’s a wooden casket on-stage. Wyatt talks about The Undertaker, as you’d expect. We all hope Undertaker will appear, but he doesn’t. Wyatt pours gasoline on the casket. He eventually lights it on fire.
Cesaro, Tyson Kidd, and Natalya vs. The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) and Naomi
A bit of good wrestling at the beginning happens, but after about a minute, it becomes nothing of interest. Kidd tags in an injured Natalya, they bicker, and Naomi rolls up Natalya for the win. It ends in something like three minutes.
Match Rating: **
John Cena is out after the commercial break, because two wrestling matches each hour is definitely the rate at which we should be working given that this is a wrestling show. He’s going to tell us what his WrestleMania plans are now that he’s not facing Rusev. He enters himself into the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. Stephanie McMahon comes out as soon as he says this. She asks him since when Superstars get to declare if they’re in the Battle Royal? Cena tells her that everyone does. Stephanie was Andre the Giant’s “friend,” so she’s taking this personally. She then says he can’t compete in the match.
They go back and forth for a while. It’s basically a talk about how WWE will survive without John Cena. Curtis Axel eventually comes out. #AxelMania. He wants to face Rusev at WrestleMania for the United States Championship, even though he’s already in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. Stephanie wants to see Axel and Cena square off right now. Oh, and if Cena wants to face Rusev, he has to convince Rusev to change his mind.
John Cena vs. Curtis Axel
Axel does some Hogan-esque taunts at the beginning. Cena then squashes him. A punch, a clothesline, an AA, and an STF wins it for Cena.
Match Rating: *
Rusev and Lana come out after the match — if you can even call it a match. We’re reminded that Cena only gets to WrestleMania if Rusev changes his mind. Rusev tells Cena “no.”
Triple H is out next, because we’re going to continue this trend of “not wrestling” on the wrestling show. He’s here to hype his match with Sting. It’s the same thing he’s been saying for a while now. He eventually invites Booker T to the ring, because Booker knew Sting at one point. We address whether or not Triple H politicked Sting out of WWE. Triple H takes a shot at the IWC, too. After a long, rambling segment, Triple H … fires Booker T!
No, really. Booker T gets fired. He grabs his stuff from the commentary desk and walks away. Triple H stops him on the ramp, and tells Booker he’s just messing with him. So, yeah, it was just an “example” of his control.
WWE Divas Championship Match: Paige vs. Nikki Bella (with Brie Bella)
It’s interesting to see this match, since it comes after the Raw during which #GiveDivasaChance was a trend on the Twitter. Well, they get two segments, although the first was taken up primarily with entrances. Two segments is a good thing, though, so I’m not complaining. But we don’t get a clean finish, which is too bad. Still, the wrestling was decent, and it got enough time to count as a real match. Paige locks in the PTO, but Brie comes into the ring, breaks it up, and gets her sister disqualified.
Match Rating: **
The Bellas start beating on Paige after the match. A returning AJ lee comes out and makes the save. Paige and AJ are a team now, I guess. At least, for the WrestleMania season, they are. A consolation prize for Paige.
Paige and AJ get interviewed backstage after the break. AJ does most of the mic work, says the #GiveDivasaChance thing. Both of them hate the Bellas, so they’re friends again.
Seth Rollins then hosts an episode of The Daily Show. He does it from inside the ring. We replay the same clip from earlier, too. Rollins’ first topic is “where is Jon Stewart?” Then Stewart comes out, making this the most culturally relevant guest on Raw since, uh, Floyd Mayweather, I guess.
Stewart makes fun of Rollins a bunch, much to Rollins’ chagrin. Stewart is funny, and he actually comes across like a legitimate fan of the program. Rollins eventually gets fed up with Stewart, drops his mic, and starts physically intimidating Stewart with J&J Security. Randy Orton walks down the ramp, a distraction which lets Stewart hit a low blow and escape the ring.
Stewart then gets interviewed backstage. He says he’d have to train to stick around in the WWE, and then he keeps running away, just in case Rollins wants revenge.
Luke Harper vs. Daniel Bryan
The match is sloppier than you might expect. There are a couple of moments that just aren’t that good. Harper dominates for most of it, but then he reverses a facelock into the Yes Lock and Harper immediately taps. Was that the planned finish? It’s hard to know if Bryan’s just selling or if he was legitimately hurt. But this isn’t the classic match we know these two could have.
Match Rating: **
We soon find out that the match was supposed to be really short (and meaningless). Barrett comes down and steals back his championships. Ambrose stops him on the stage, hits a clothesline after getting Barrett back into the ring, and then takes the title. Harper knocks out Ambrose while R-Truth takes the title. Harper stops him and gets the title back for himself. Harper walks to the stage and eats a superkick from Dolph Ziggler, who winds up with the title. I guess we’re going to do this for the next few weeks.
Alundra Blayze (Medusa) is announced as the next inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame. Good on her.
Randy Orton and Seth Rollins have a talk backstage. Orton thinks he saved Rollins’ job, because Stewart would’ve sued him if he’d done anything. Kane and Big Show announce they’ll be at ringside for Rollins’ match, and Jamie Noble tells Orton he’s not needed. We continue the tease.
Paul Heyman gets to cut a promo following the commercial break. Heyman’s here to “address” rumors about Brock Lesnar. But he doesn’t really. Heyman works the crowd wonderfully, as we know he can. He’s usually great but he was amazing tonight. Eventually, Roman Reigns comes down. Heyman leaves the ring, and it turns out Reigns is just here for a match, not to address Heyman.
Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins (with Kane, Big Show, and J&J Security)
Rollins is treated like a joke at the beginning of the match. Reigns laughs after each move, and he dominates. Thankfully, that’s not how the entire match goes. Rollins does get some offense in. Randy Orton comes down partway through the match. He watches from the opposite side of the ring from the other Authority members.
The match is fine, but would be better without any distractions. Mercury should’ve gotten Rollins disqualified at one point, but doesn’t. Noble does stuff, too, although at least he’s never really caught. Kane hits Reigns with a chair and throws him back into the ring — he was seen doing the latter. The actual in-ring stuff is good, but there’s just so much outside junk that distracts and detracts.
The finish comes when Orton stops Reigns from doing a spear, allowing Rollins to roll up Reigns for the win. Disappointing finish, but the match part was pretty fun.
Match Rating: ***
Reigns looks shocked and confused after the match. He does a dive over the top rope — like The Usos, but he got more air — onto The Authority members. He then takes out anyone who gets up and continues to look strong. That dive was unexpected and so very much worth seeing. That’s how Raw ends.
The Good: Reigns/Rollins. Eva Marie cameo. AJ Lee’s return. Paul Heyman. Jon Stewart.
The Bad: Cena/Axel. So many promos.
Match of the Night: Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins.