It was an old school edition of Raw from the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Md. and it was quite an evening.
Raw took a nostalgic approach to production and invited back a slew of legends to take part in the festivities. A lot of things took place among the current stars as well.
Without further adieu, here are my observations from Old School Raw Monday:
Jake “The Snake” Roberts makes surprise appearance
You read that correctly. Jake “The Snake” Roberts came out after the main event with Damien in tow.
Roberts didn’t take part in any physical activities, as CM Punk and the New Age Outlaws took care of that for him when they took out The Shield.
Roberts did get in the ring after CM Punk delivered a GTS to Dean Ambrose and dropped Damien on him to close the show.
Roberts looked better than he has looked in years and it was nice to have a truly surprising moment happen in wrestling. Too often are big surprises spoiled beforehand, which robs fans of that great moment.
I rarely mark out for anything anymore. I think it’s a combination of being too desensitized and not being presented a product worth marking out. When Roberts walked from behind that curtain Monday night, I marked out.
Roman Reins defeats CM Punk
That main event I mentioned earlier, this was it. The outcome got kind of overshadowed by Roberts’ return, but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked.
Reins won the biggest match of his career Monday night in relative clean fashion. One of Reins’ Shield members distracted CM Punk for a second, but it was just enough for Reins to deliver the spear to pick up the pinfall victory.
Reins held his own during the match although CM Punk clearly led him through it and rightfully so. CM Punk is an experienced veteran and former WWE Champion while Reins is still very young to the business. Let me reiterate, Reins still pulled his own weight during the match.
Everything that led up to the finish was of quality. CM Punk was joined at ringside by the New Age Outlaws, which helped him even up the odds with The Shield.
The four men on the outside didn’t factor too much in the finish or in the match in general.
But this night was about Reins and his steady rise up the ladder in WWE. The WWE is strapping the proverbial rocket ship to his back and Monday may have been his launching pad.
Introducing … Daniel Wyatt!
Daniel Bryan made his debut as a member of the Wyatt Family and he came out looking like the illegitimate son of Jason Voorhees.
He came out wearing a blue jump suit, as he appears to have gone all in with this transformation. I appreciate that. It’s a lot better than John Cena keeping on the purple shirt while apart of Nexus.
Bryan joined Luke Harper and Erick Rowan in a six-man tag team match against the Usos and Rey Mysterio.
Bryan seemed to have worked well with his new teammates until some miscommunication on some tags cost them the match.
Later on in the show, Bryan insisted that Harper and Rowan let him contribute to the group. Bray Wyatt then informed him that they would be teaming on Raw next week against the Usos.
I’m surprised there appears to be dissension among the group already. I figured Bryan would reluctantly fall in line at this point while the other superstars wonder what happened to him.
What was really missing was a promo from Bryan. Monday night should have been an opportunity for Bryan to explain why he joined the group after going against it so many times.
That didn’t happen. I understand why as it was Old School Raw and WWE felt the need to make time for all the legends that came back, but I feel as though some time should had been set aside for him.
Ric Flair interacts with Randy Orton, John Cena
Old School Raw opened with “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair welcoming everyone to Monday’s show. Orton interrupted the two-time WWE Hall of Famer and said that although he respects Flair, he is the greatest superstar of this generation or any other.
Because he’s the greatest of all time, he thought that Stephanie McMahon’s decision to grant Cena a rematch for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the Royal Rumble was bogus and should be reversed.
Flair said that when he was champion, he went around the world taking on all comers.
Before Orton could do any bodily harm to Flair, Cena came out and challenged Orton to a fight, Orton chose to back away.
This was a pretty ordinary, run-of-the-mill segment to hype up a title match. The only special part of it was Flair and unfortunately, he won’t be wrestling at the Royal Rumble. I doubt this segment did a whole lot to get people more excited for the match.
The Shield were guests on Piper’s Pit
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper mad an appearance Monday in Baltimore and did a Piper’s Pit segment with all three members of The Shield.
Like CM Punk did last week, Piper attempted to stir the pot amongst the group by saying none of them could beat CM Punk one-on-one in a match. He also had a pretty entertaining exchange with Ambrose.
When Piper mentioned Reins going up against CM Punk, he grabbed Reins’ cheek like a little baby. Reins got up threatened to do harmful things to Piper if he ever touched him again.
Before The Shield go to do so together, CM Punk and the New Age Outlaws ran out to make the save and set up the main event later on in the night.
Brock Lesnar destroyed Mark Henry again, wanted no parts of Big Show
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman went to the ring Monday and once again dared anyone to cross Lesnar’s path.
Once again, Henry answered the challenge. Like last week, he momentarily had the upper hand, but Lesnar quickly turned the tables and locked Henry in the kimora lock. Lesnar wrenched Henry’s arm to make it look like he broke it similar to the way he did with Triple H and Shawn Michaels.
With the damage done, Lesnar began to leave. That was until Big Show came out and forced Lesnar back into the ring. Lesnar made it seem like he wanted no parts of Big Show, but then used Heyman to distract the big man and got the jump on him.
Big Show quickly reversed his fortunes and then tossed Lesnar from one side of the ring to the other.
Lesnar walked away with a slight limp. It looked like Lesnar legitimately hurt himself, as Big Show did nothing to Lesnar’s legs during the encounter.
Legends aplenty on Old School Raw
Legends were everywhere Monday. Big E Langston ran into Nikolai Volkoff, Ted DiBiase and Irwin R. Schyster all in one hallway. Booker T and Diamond Dallas Page took part in a weird backstage segment that appropriately ended with Ron Simmons saying, “Damn!”
Sgt. Slaughter, Arn Anderson and Bob Backlund were up to be voted upon to be the special guest referee for the Damien Sandow-Great Khali match, which Slaughter won.
WWE even had Too Cool work a match against 3MB, who had Heath Slater back in the fold.
Then, WWE introduced all of the legends one by one, including The Godfather, who stood right next to Ric Flair and scared every club owner in Baltimore.
Bad News Barrett, who said something unimportant, interrupted the legends’ good moment.
And how could I forget “Mean” Gene Okerlund. Overall, it was fun to see these legends back on television. Nostalgia is good, as long as it’s in limited doses.
Alberto Del Rio returned
Alberto Del Rio is back on my television screen and he even won a match. The former World Champion returned to the ring after suffering a concussion a couple of weeks ago and defeated the man that gave him said concussion, Sin Cara.
After the match he announced that he was entering the Royal Rumble and that he will win it for a second time. It was also announced that Batista was going to be in the Royal Rumble as well.
I like Del Rio, but I think WWE could have saved him until the Royal Rumble. If there’s one victim of overexposure on the WWE roster, it has been Del Rio.
Damien Sandow a victim of referee mistake
Sandow benefited from a missed call from an official last week when he pinned Khali despite shoulders being clearly off the mat.
This week, Khali pinned Sandow despite Sandow’s foot clearly on the ropes. Special guest referee Sgt. Slaughter missed the call, giving the indication that we may have a rubber match between the two next week. I’m sure everyone is looking forward to that.
Rhodes brothers-Real Americans have a great match
No surprise here. The Rhodes and the Real Americans put on a very good performance in Baltimore Monday. The Rhodes brothers came away with the clean victory.