After The Authority fired Erick Rowan, Ryback, & Dolph Ziggler and put the weight of the firings on his shoulders, RAW kicks off with John Cena. Cena says that he cannot believe that he works for two people who, instead of working hard to get where they’re at, they had their “whipping boy” Seth Rollins hold a Hall of Famer hostage and force Cena to bring back The Authority. Cena then says that he would make the same decision every time because it was the “right thing to do”, saying that what gets him upset is that a guy like Triple H, who is a thirteen-time World Champion and a certified legend in WWE, will only be remembered for being a “slimy, power-hungry sociopath whose goal is to wake up every day and make everyone’s life miserable”. Cena cites The Authority’s firings last week, saying that The Authority claims to listen to the fans, yet they fired a guy like Dolph Ziggler, one of the most popular guys in the company. Cena then asks the fans if Erick Rowan, Ryback, & Dolph Ziggler deserved to be fired and the fans shout “no” before asking if the fans want to see all three of them here tonight on RAW! The fans break out in a “yes” chant in support of Cena’s proposal before Cena enlists everyone watching around the world to take to social media to let The Authority know what they think. Cena then says that, if they can’t hear or see what the fans have to say, then that makes them “deaf, blind, and stupid”.
John Cena continues, saying that Triple H & Stephanie McMahon are probably “deaf, blind, and stupid”, so he has a “plan B”. Cena then explains that his plan is simple as he is going to walk into the Royal Rumble in two weeks, defeat Brock Lesnar and Seth Rollins in the Triple Threat Match, and walk out as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Cena then drops a bombshell by announcing that, once he leaves the Royal Rumble with the title, he is going to show up on RAW, say “the champ is here” and “you can’t see me”, then he’s going to take the championship and “go home”! Cena continues, saying he is going to sit at home with WWE’s most coveted prize and he is going to stay home until The Authority agrees to bring Erick Rowan, Ryback, & Dolph Ziggler back to WWE. Cena then asks the question of, without the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, what would happen to RAW and what would happen to SmackDown and what would happen if there was no World Title match at WrestleMania?
This brings out The Authority as Triple H & Stephanie McMahon make their way to the ring to confront John Cena. Visibly unconcerned with Cena’s threats, Stephanie sarcastically says that Erick Rowan, Ryback, & Dolph Ziggler will certainly enjoy seeing John Cena win the WWE World Heavyweight Title at the Royal Rumble then take his “ball” and “go home”. Stephanie continues, saying that she is sure that the fans would love to see Cena turn his back on them just like Cena did his Survivor Series teammates. Triple H then says that he expected more out of John Cena before saying that he made it very clear prior to Survivor Series that what Cena was proposing was a “mutiny” and he told Cena that anyone who supported John Cena in his mutiny would be fired. Triple H continues, saying that Cena convinced them to go to bat with him knowing the consequences and Team Cena emerged victorious, putting The Authority out of power, but they found a way back in because The Authority “always wins”. Stephanie then says that Seth Rollins was able to “use” John Cena to bring back The Authority because, at the end of the day, Cena is “selfish”. Stephanie continues, saying that Cena always has to be the “star of the show”, even if it means putting other men’s livelihoods on the line. Triple H says that nothing says “hero” like supporting the guy who turned his back on them. Triple H then says that they are going to give Cena the opportunity to be the “hero” again, claiming that they didn’t want to fire Erick Rowan, Ryback, & Dolph Ziggler, but unlike Cena, they keep their “promises”. Triple H then says that, if the fans want those three back and if The Authority wants them back, then how much does Cena want them back? Triple H then tells Cena that, all Cena has to do to get Erick Rowan, Ryback, & Dolph Ziggler their jobs back is to win his match later tonight.
Knowing that The Authority has something up their sleeves, John Cena asks if his match is going to be some sort of impossible Handicap Match, but Triple H says that they are not going to do something so “unoriginal”. Triple H then says that, if Cena wins, then Erick Rowan, Ryback, & Dolph Ziggler will get their jobs back, but if he loses, then he will do what he has become so good at doing and that is “crushing” people’s dreams. Triple H then says that it is going to be a “simple one-on-one” matchup between John Cena and Seth Rollins before adding the stipulation that it will be a Lumberjack Match to try and keep things under control. Triple H then brings out the “motivated lumberjacks”, saying that the match is going to start right now! However, the lumberjacks that come out are not exactly Cena-friendly as Kane, Big Show, Cesaro, Tyson Kidd, Bad News Barrett, Fandango, among others, make their way to ringside.
With several hand-picked lumberjacks surrounding the ring, the opening match of the night would see John Cena square off with “Mr. Money-in-the-Bank” Seth Rollins, with J&J Security in his corner, in a Lumberjack Match and, per the orders of The Authority, if Cena wins, then Erick Rowan, Ryback, & Dolph Ziggler will get their jobs back. As one would expect, the match would be tilted in the favor of Seth Rollins due to the biased of the lumberjacks, but John Cena would still manage to stay in the match, hitting the Attitude Adjustment on Rollins. However, before Cena could go for the pin, J&J Security get on the ring apron and Cena knocks both men off of the apron as a few of the lumberjacks actually pull Seth Rollins out of the ring to safety. The safety would not last long, however, as Cena dives off of the top rope, taking out Rollins and several of the lumberjacks on the outside! Cena then rolls Rollins back into the ring, but is unable to score the three-count as the match continues. Later on in the match, John Cena is able to hit Seth Rollins with another Attitude Adjustment, but when Cena goes for the pin, J&J Security pull Cena all the way out of the ring at the feet of the lumberjacks.
The lumberjacks then swarm John Cena, assaulting Cena with Cesaro grabbing Cena and swinging Cena into the ringside barricade. The lumberjacks then roll Cena back into the ring and Rollins goes for the Curb Stomp, but Cena counters, locking in the STF on Rollins. Rollins would claw towards the ropes and Kane would then reach into the ring, dragging Rollins to the ropes! Cena manages to pull Rollins away from the ropes, but on the other side of the ring, Big Show pulls Cena out of the ring, flooring Cena with the Knockout Punch! The lumberjacks then roll the motionless John Cena into the ring as a barely conscious Seth Rollins rolls Cena over onto his back, pinning Cena and scoring the three-count to win the match and ensure that Erick Rowan, Ryback, & Dolph Ziggler remain unemployed.
Backstage, Stephanie McMahon is in her office with Dean Ambrose and WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos. Stephanie says that she wants to address some things that were said and some actions that took place on SmackDown. Stephanie then says that she knows that The Usos harbor some “feelings” against The Authority for the firings last week, but says that, after tonight, she hopes that The Usos understand that the firings are the fault of John Cena, not The Authority. After confirming that they won’t be punished, Stephanie decides to place the punishment on a loved one as Stephanie asks Jimmy Uso to inform his wife, Naomi, that she will be competing tonight and she will have one hand tied behind her back. The Usos then exit the office as Stephanie confronts Dean Ambrose, saying that, after Ambrose’s Ambulance Match last week, Ambrose would not cooperate with doctors or hospital staff and that he checked himself out of the hospital. Stephanie then says that she deems Ambrose a danger to himself and to others before introducing Dr. Corbick, saying he is a doctor in “abnormal psychology” and, if Ambrose does not pass the doctor’s “evaluation”, then Ambrose will not be allowed to compete in the Royal Rumble Match.
After being attacked by Cesaro & Tyson Kidd, who disguised themselves as Rosebuds on SmackDown, The New Day was in action on RAW as Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston, with Big E in his corner, would face Cesaro & Tyson Kidd, with Adam Rose and his Rosebuds, as well as Tyson Kidd’s wife Natalya, in their corner, in tag team action. In the end, it was Xavier Woods holding Tyson Kidd in place as Kofi Kingston comes off of the top rope with a double stomp to Kidd, pinning Kidd for the win.
After his interference earlier in the night directly led to John Cena losing to Seth Rollins in a Lumberjack Match, “The World’s Largest Athlete” Big Show makes his way to the ring. Big Show says that whoever said that “all men are created equal” was clearly not a “giant”, saying that he is on the “top of the food chain” and things come easy for him. Big Show says that every one of the fans in the arena were probably “scared” on their first day of work, but on his first day of work, he beat Hulk Hogan for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, saying that he did it because was “easy”. Big Show says that none of them want “competition” and, at their jobs, they smile and hug new employees, but what they are really thinking is what they can do to ensure they keep their job secure, even if it means stabbing them in the back. Big Show then brings up Roman Reigns, saying that he doesn’t see Reigns as “competition”, comparing Reigns to the New York Knicks, who are on a fifteen-game losing streak. Big Show continues, saying that he is going to knock Roman Reigns out and then Roman can be just like the fans, a “loser” who will sit and watch him “dominate” WWE. Big Show then says that Roman is a “loser” and, by proxy, any fan of Roman Reigns is a “loser” too.
Naturally, this brings out Roman Reigns, but as soon as Roman enters the ring, Big Show exits the ring. As Big Show stands on the stage, Roman Reigns says that he knows that he is not a “threat” to Big Show, but that is because he doesn’t want Big Show’s spot. Roman says that he was about twelve years old when Big Show won the WCW Title from Hulk Hogan. Roman then retells the story of “Jack and the Beanstalk”, saying that he is going to kick the giant’s teeth down his throat before saying that the giant is the only “loser” in the entire “kingdom”.
Roman Reigns was also in action on RAW as the powerhouse would go one-on-one with the bizarre Luke Harper, with Big Show in his corner. Despite Big Show’s best efforts to cost Roman Reigns the match, Roman would still come out of nowhere with the Spear to Luke Harper, pinning Harper for the win. However, as soon as the match was over, Big Show would attack, slamming Reigns to the match before picking Roman up and leveling Reigns with the Knockout Punch! Big Show then walks away with a smile on his face as Roman Reigns struggles to remain conscious.
Per the orders of Stephanie McMahon, Jimmy Uso’s wife Naomi would be forced to compete against Alicia Fox with one hand tied behind Naomi’s back. Even though Naomi would try her best to combat the handicap placed on her by The Authority, Alicia Fox would take full advantage of the situation, hitting the Scissors Kick on Naomi and pinning Naomi for the win.
Before he joins his two Royal Rumble challengers, John Cena and Seth Rollins, in the ring later in the night for the official contract signing for the WWE World Heavyweight Title match at the Royal Rumble, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar and his advocate, Paul Heyman, would make an appearance on RAW. Heyman says that it is a pleasure that he returns to the “scene of the crime” where, back at WrestleMania 30, the world witnessed Brock Lesnar do the unthinkable by ending the undefeated WrestleMania streak of The Undertaker. Heyman continues, saying that WrestleMania 30 marked the “death of a myth” and the “rise of a beast” and it all happened in one moment when The Undertaker’s undefeated streak was “conquered” by Brock Lesnar. Heyman then says that Lesnar is the only man in history to have held the NCAA Championship, the UFC Championship, and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Heyman then says that it has been 282 days since Brock Lesnar “conquered” The Undertaker’s streak at WrestleMania and it still “burns” each and every fan. Heyman continues, saying that WWE likes to push a “fantasy” of “then, now, forever”, but that fantasy runs up against the “reality” that is Brock Lesnar. Heyman says that they all thought that The Undertaker’s streak would last “forever”, but that was a “fantasy”. Heyman then says that, later tonight, Brock Lesnar will explain the difference between “fantasy” and “reality” face-to-face to both John Cena and Seth Rollins.
One-half of the WWE Tag Team Champions would be in action on RAW as Jey Uso, with Jimmy Uso in his corner, would face The Miz, with Damien Mizdow in his corner. During the match, Jimmy Uso would prevent Damien Mizdow from getting into the ring and the battle would draw the attention of the referee, allowing The Miz to rake the eyes of Jey Uso, following it up with the Skull Crushing Finale, pinning Jey to pick up the win.
For the first time since his underdog victory at WrestleMania 30 where he won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, Daniel Bryan would be live in New Orleans. Bryan says that, two weeks ago, he announced his entry into the 30-Man Royal Rumble Match, vowing to win the Royal Rumble Match and go to WrestleMania to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship again. Daniel Bryan is then interrupted by the arrival of Stephanie McMahon, who brings Daniel Bryan a copy of her new fitness DVD, recommending that Bryan use it to get in shape for the Royal Rumble. Daniel Bryan refuses the gift and Stephanie continues, saying that Bryan proved The Authority wrong, but when she thinks about 2014, she remembers Kane’s vicious attack on Daniel Bryan in April of last year where Kane drilled Bryan with three Tombstone Piledrivers at ringside. Stephanie says that Daniel Bryan represents the fans because Bryan is an “average Joe” just like them, asking if Daniel Bryan believes in himself and if he is willing to do all of this again. Daniel Bryan says that “yes”, he is ready to do it again and, no matter what The Authority says or does, he and the fans will not stop “fighting”.
Stephanie then reveals Daniel Bryan’s opponent for Bryan’s return to action this Thursday night on SmackDown, bringing Kane to the ring. However, Daniel Bryan would not wait for Kane to make it into the ring before jumping to the outside as a brawl ensues before Kane sends Bryan shoulder-first into the steel steps. Kane then looks to replicate what he did last April by setting up for the Tombstone Piledriver, but, luckily, Daniel Bryan fights out, sending Kane face-first into the steel ring post! Bryan then jumps on Kane pummeling the big man and, despite several referees coming out to break up the fight, Bryan would catch Kane with the running knee and would even dive out of the ring, taking down. Referees are then finally able to separate Daniel Bryan and Kane, allowing Kane to retreat to the back as Daniel Bryan celebrates in the ring, having proven that he is more than ready to compete again.
Backstage, Seth Rollins is bragging to J&J Security about his victory over John Cena when Rollins is confronted by WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar. Lesnar says that Rollins is the guy who “weaseled” his way into the WWE World Heavyweight Title match at the Royal Rumble, but Rollins argues that he is the “future” of WWE. The champion says that the future does not start until he says it starts. Paul Heyman then tries to play peacekeeper, suggesting that Brock Lesnar and Seth Rollins work together to get rid of John Cena at the Royal Rumble then let the two of them battle it out and see who the better man is.
The Divas were in action on RAW as Paige, with Natalya & Tyson Kidd in her corner, would face Brie Bella, with Divas Champion Nikki Bella in her corner. During the match, Tyson Kidd inexplicably tries to climb in the ring, distracting Paige long enough for Brie Bella to take advantage, rolling Paige up for the win. After the match, Paige would confront Tyson Kidd at ringside, slapping Kidd across the face, which actually puts a smile on Natalya’s face!
With TMZ breaking the story earlier in the day, RAW would feature the official announcement of the first inductee into the 2015 WWE Hall of Fame. Arguably the biggest omission from the WWE Hall of Fame, 2015 would finally be the year for Randy Savage to take his rightful place in the Hall of Fame as the “Macho Man” himself will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on March 28 in San Jose!
The entitled tag team known as The Ascension was in action on RAW as Konnor & Viktor would face two local talents. It was another easy victory for The Ascension, hitting their Fall of Man maneuver on one of the locals as Konnor pins the local for the win.
Backstage, Dean Ambrose had somehow managed to switch roles with the psychologist assigned to evaluate him as the doctor is the sobbing on the couch while Ambrose evaluates him! Ambrose then gets the doctor to sign his evaluation before telling the psychologist that he is a “screwed up heap of cow dung”, leaving the doctor in tears.
United States Champion Rusev & Lana appear on RAW as Lana reveals that Rusev was supposed to face Ryback tonight, but since Ryback got “canned”, they would like to thank The Authority for firing Ryback. Lana then says that they would like to thank John Cena for failing to get Ryback’s job back. Rusev then declares that Ryback is “spineless” and he deserved to get fired and he does not deserve to be in the same ring as him. Rusev then says that Americans do not deserve him as their United States Champion, saying that Ryback is “lucky” that he got fired because Ryback would have to deal with him in the Royal Rumble Match. Never one to shy away from a fight, this brings Dean Ambrose to the ring as Ambrose attacks Rusev, knocking the United States Champion out of the ring.
In an impromptu match made by The Authority, “The Lunatic Fringe” Dean Ambrose would face United States Champion Rusev, with Lana in his corner, in a non-title match on RAW. Throughout the match, Rusev would target the injured knee of Dean Ambrose and, against the will of Ambrose, the referee would deem that Ambrose was unable to continue, awarding the match to Rusev. After the match, Rusev would deliver a cheap-shot to “The Lunatic Fringe”, dropping Ambrose with a big kick to the face.
Then it was time to make the Triple Threat Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the Royal Rumble official as #1 Contender John Cena, challenger Seth Rollins, and WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar would all be in the same ring at the same. The Authority would appear in the ring first as Triple H & Stephanie McMahon would preside over the contract signing. The Authority first introduces the self-proclaimed “future of WWE” Seth Rollins, who comes to the ring with J&J Security in tow. Triple H then introduces John Cena as the man who can bring back The Authority, but can’t seem to bring back his friends, calling Cena “Mr. Hustle, Loyalty, & Broken Promises”. Cena then makes his way to the ring before Stephanie introduces WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar, who comes to the ring flanked by his advocate, Paul Heyman.
Paul Heyman says that Seth Rollins’ plan to bring back The Authority and that plan was “endorsed” by Paul Heyman and that plan was “desperately needed” by The Authority. Heyman continues, saying that what was needed by The Authority was “bad” for John Cena and what is bad for Cena is “good” for Brock Lesnar and what is good for Lesnar is what is “best for business”. Seth Rollins thanks Paul Heyman for what he had to say, but Heyman says that he was not finished, telling Rollins that Brock Lesnar has conquered everything in his path and that includes anything that will come before him at the Royal Rumble. With Heyman’s statement completed, Rollins says that Heyman is “upset” that the match is a Triple Threat Match and Heyman interrupts Rollins, saying that he is upset about it being a Triple Threat Match for the simple reason that, what is a Triple Threat to him could be a “double cross” by The Authority. Heyman brings up that, in a Triple Threat Match, Brock Lesnar does not have to be pinned or made to submit to lose the title, saying that he is not happy with the change. Rollins says that the list of Brock Lesnar’s accomplishments are “incomparable”, suggesting that Brock Lesnar cannot handle a Triple Threat Match. Heyman begins to speak, but just as Heyman did to Rollins moments earlier, Rollins tells Heyman that he is not finished yet. Rollins admits that he does not have the list of accomplishments that Brock Lesnar has, but Lesnar also does not have Rollins’ list of accomplishments. Rollins then says that he “built” and “destroyed” The Shield, he has the Money-in-the-Bank briefcase, he “single-handedly” brought back The Authority and, earlier tonight, he pinned John Cena and made sure that Erick Rowan, Ryback, & Dolph Ziggler are still out of WWE. Rollins then says that, whether either Lesnar or Cena like it or not, he will either win the Triple Threat Match or cash in his Money-in-the-Bank contract on whoever does win the match and he will walk out of the Royal Rumble as the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion before Rollins signs his name to the contract.
Paul Heyman then begins to speak on behalf of his client, but Brock Lesnar takes the mic away and addresses Seth Rollins himself. The champion says that he “conquered” The Undertaker, he conquered Triple H, and he conquered John Cena, so he will “damn sure conquer” Seth Rollins. John Cena then speaks up, saying that Brock Lesnar does not have to be pinned in the Triple Threat Match to lose the title, but Brock will be getting pinned. Cena then says that he and Lesnar owe Seth Rollins a beating, so the way he sees it, they are both going to kick Seth Rollins’ ass then Cena is going to kick Lesnar’s ass! With that emphatic statement, John Cena signs his name to the contract before badgering Brock Lesnar to sign the contract, which Brock Lesnar does, making the match official. Seth Rollins says that John Cena’s plans have not gone very well as of late, bringing up Cena’s plan to keep The Authority out of power for good and Cena’s plan to get Erick Rowan, Ryback, & Dolph Ziggler their jobs back. Rollins then says that, at the Royal Rumble, it will be “strike three” on John Cena’s plans if Cena even makes it that far.
With that, Rollins swings his briefcase at Cena, but Cena ducks out of the way as Cena tackles Rollins into the corner. Brock Lesnar then springs into battle, drilling Cena with a German suplex before grabbing Rollins and hitting a German suplex on Rollins, as well, but when the champion gets to his feet, John Cena is waiting as Cena delivers the Attitude Adjustment to Brock Lesnar through a table! Triple H then gets on the ring apron, distracting Cena long enough for Seth Rollins to strike as “Mr. Money-in-the-Bank” spikes Cena’s head into the mat with the Curb Stomp. Seth Rollins then sizes up Brock Lesnar before making a major statement by delivering the Curb Stomp to Brock Lesnar, as well! As The Authority applauds Seth Rollins, “Mr. Money-in-the-Bank” stands tall over both Brock Lesnar and John Cena before Seth Rollins regroups with The Authority on the stage while both Brock Lesnar and John Cena begin to come to.
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