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Looking Back – Raw Is Jericho

Looking Back
Monday Night Raw: RAW is JERICHO (12/15/2014)

Welcome to a brand new, recurring series here on Today’s Knockout. It’s called, “Looking Back,” and its primary purpose is to be an avenue for me to explore older episodes of Raw and Nitro, both via the WWE Network. I used to watch both shows religiously and a big part of me wants to dig into the stuff that captured my imagination as a child. Truth be told, my childhood has morphed into one big, hazy blur of happenings. I’m hoping some of these episodes of Raw and Nitro that I stumble on can help give me a little clarity into my lost years.

For today, though, I thought I’d skip the nostalgia and start with a recent episode I had the misfortune of not being able to watch live. The episode is titled, “Raw Is Jericho,” and its hosted by Chris Jericho. It aired on December 15th, 2014.

Real quick: did you guys know Raw episodes have titles? I only learned that recently.

Anyway, here we go. The episode began with Lion Heart coming out and demanding the dancing fool Fandango enter the ring to return the Slammy Award Jericho had won the previous week. Thankfully, Vince McMahon and the WWE had more important things to get up to than reprising the uninteresting feud that Chris Jericho and that dancing fool held. Before the opening segment was over, we had two Main Event matches for the night: John Cena vs. Seth Rollins in a Steel Cage and Chris Jericho versus, of all people, Paul Heyman.

The fans were allowed to vote to determine the stipulations for the Jericho v. Heyman matchup. The choices were: Extreme Rules, No Holds Barred, or a Street Fight. We’ll see how they voted when that part of the show rolls around.

The first match of the evening was a tag team match: Dolph Ziggler and Eric Rowan vs. Big Show and Luke Harper. This was a night after the 2014 edition of the Tables, Ladder, and Chairs Pay-per-view, which became TLCS. The S added to the end is for stairs. I have a few choice words to say about that, but it will involve a lot of expletives, so I’ll save them. Point is the Pay-per-view was very poorly received, thanks to a lackluster in-ring product. I’ll go into that, in time. For now, I bring it up because we live in the Internet age.

Ziggler delivering a dropkick to Big Show (Courtesy of WWE.com)

Ziggler delivering a dropkick to Big Show (Courtesy of WWE.com)

The wrestlers know when they don’t get a good reaction, and they know they’ll have to step it up after that happens. That’s exactly what Ziggler, Rowan, Harper, and Show did here. They worked a great tag match, with the bruised and battered Dolph staring the match, lending an easy in-ring psychology to the affair. It was all about the Show Off defying the odds and surviving the Big Show and Harper long enough to tag his partner in. After he tagged in Eric Rowan, while Ziggler was distracted with Harper, Big Show hit Rowan with the “Knockout Punch” and picked up the win, ending the match.

Next up was a promo for the group, “The New Day.” I’m not particularly fond of this group. It feels almost like the Nation of Domination, if the Nation didn’t have any balls, whatsoever. They preach a bit and then they go out and dance, and nobody takes them seriously. It’s a shame, too, because every member is an extremely talented athlete, especially Kofi Kingston. They just can’t get over that hurdle and shoot into the Main Event picture. Hopefully one day this article will be wildly out of date, after all three have won WWE Championship gold at least once. That’d be a New Day for you.

The New Day (Courtesy of WWE.com)

The New Day (Courtesy of WWE.com)

After their promo, was a Diva’s tag team match between the Bella Twins, Nikki and Brie, and Natalya and Alycia Foxx. Honestly, that’s all I really have for that. I can sum up the WWE Diva’s division these last few years in one sentence: if AJ Lee isn’t in the ring, it’s not worth watching.

Up next, Chris Jericho took center stage with his talk show segment, “The Highlight Reel.” His guests for the evening were Rusev and Lana.

Real quick, I want to take a moment to acknowledge something that’s been on my mind for a few weeks now: dat ass. Keep up the work with those squats, Lana.

Lana (Courtesy of WWE.com)

(Courtesy of WWE.com)

Anyway, the segment quickly led to an altercation between Rusev and the monster Ryback. I like that Rusev plays it smart. This is the second time I’ve seen him get challenged and walk away. He could have taken on Ryback, but it’s better for his character to remain an attraction. He’s an unstoppable beast. The more he wrestles, the more important it’ll become to build to his eventual destruction. It looks like Cena is going to get that honor, but not at Fastlane. That’ll definitely be reserved for WrestleMania 31.

After Rusev and Lana, there was an Ascension promo and then the New Day came out to wrestle in a tag match against Goldust and Stardust. I love Goldust and Stardust a lot, and like I said, I think the guys of New Day are some of the most talented in the business. The match itself was passable. Kofi sat on commentary the whole time, going back and forth with JBL at the table. John Bradshaw Layfield is always entertaining.

Then my least favorite character in the entire WWE roster came out, Adam Rose. I hate that dude and everything that comes with his gimmick. I hate the bunny and I hate the Rosebuds. Thankfully Rose took on Kane that night, and I got to see him and the bunny get double choke slammed. Good. Screw those guys.

It was especially great to see Kane give the bunny a Tombstone Pile Driver after the bell rang. Thank you for that Kane.

Finally, we’ve reached the double Main Event. The first match we got to see was Paul Heyman and Chris Jericho in a Street Fight. Paul Heyman used verbiage to work this for as long as he could, even offering to write Chris Jericho a check for two hundred dollars to try and stall. It couldn’t last forever, though. Eventually the match had to start, but Heyman, ever the trickster, had one big one still up his sleeve. His trick was bringing out The Beast Incarnate to take out Chris. Brock Lesnar tore through Y2J.

Brock Lesnar delivering an F-5 to Jericho (Courtesy of WWE.com)

Brock Lesnar delivering an F-5 to Jericho (Courtesy of WWE.com)

After that, Fandango came down to the ring to taunt Chris Jericho, but he was interrupted by Roman Reigns. Thank God. I’ve made my dislike of the tango dancing character no secret, so it was nice to see Roman take him apart in short order. This was a little more than a month before the recent Royal Rumble, and Reigns was still picking up cheers. It’s crazy how quickly things can change.

Up next was Jimmy Uso and The Miz in a one on one match. It’s crazy how much bigger a reaction Damien Mizdow gets than the man he’s supposed to be playing second fiddle to. I hope it continues into what I’m sure will be the surprise feud of the year: The Miz vs. Mizdow.

Finally, after some more promos, we come to the Main Event of the evening: John Cena vs. Seth Rollins in a Steel Cage match.

John Cena and Seth Rollins going at it in the cage (Courtesy of WWE.com)

John Cena and Seth Rollins going at it in the cage (Courtesy of WWE.com)

I really loved the emphasis that Rollins and Cena put on escaping the cage during this match. For a long time, WWE steel cage matches seemed to be an exercise in futility. Nobody ever cared about escaping. It became so much about just getting a pin that it ruined matches. What’s the point of a cage if you’re not going to use it for the story? You can mess a guy up with anything. The cage isn’t a weapon. It should be there to add intrigue and most of all, suspense. How many times have you caught yourself slipping closer to the edge of your seat while a wrestler climbed up the cage?

The addition of J&J Security for Seth Rollins helped stack the odds against John Cena. Everybody was on point throughout the match, leaving behind the best match on a Monday Night Raw since CM Punk and John Cena laced up for their classic back in 2011.

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