The first RAW of 2015 kicks off with an interesting sight as WWE Superstars and Divas fill the ring and ringside area with John Cena at the forefront in the middle of the ring. John Cena reminds everyone that The Authority is back in power and Triple H & Stephanie McMahon has ordered the entire WWE locker room to come down to the ring so they can address each of them. Cena says that, before The Authority comes out there, he wants to “apologize” to the rest of the roster for having to go back on his word last week, saying that the health and well-being of a friend and a father is more important than keeping The Authority out of power. Cena then says that 2015 is going to be a “very tough year”, but Cena is then interrupted by the newly reinstated Authority as Triple H & Stephanie McMahon come out to the stage with big smiles on their faces. Stephanie says that they had a great new year because they knew that they were coming back to run WWE again before Triple H says that all of them were “cheering” and “laughing” when they were forced out of power back in November because they thought that they had seen the last of The Authority all thanks to that “face-painted goof”, Sting. Triple H continues, saying that the fans were “begging” for them to come back, laughing at Ho Ho Hogan and a computer being in charge of RAW. Triple H then says that WWE was a “sinking ship” and, thanks to one man, WWE is back where it should be. Triple H then brings out that one man, the “undisputed future of WWE”, Seth Rollins, who greets The Authority. With a big smile on his face as well, Seth Rollins wishes John Cena a “happy new year” before Triple H says that they owe Seth Rollins a “debt of gratitude”. Triple H then says that they are going to give Rollins the chance to make “history” again, making the announcement that, at the Royal Rumble, the WWE World Heavyweight Title match will now be a Triple Threat Match with Seth Rollins joining challenger John Cena and champion Brock Lesnar in the match!
Stephanie McMahon says that there is one more man that they have to thank and that is John Cena, saying that Cena showed them Cena’s true integrity by breaking his “promise” to the Superstars and the fans. Stephanie then says that, deep down, Cena knows what is “best for business” and they are not going to punish Cena, instead they are going to have a “John Cena Appreciation Night” here tonight! Stephanie then tells Cena that his attendance is “mandatory”, promising that The Authority will “deliver”. Triple H says that this is a “new era” for The Authority, claiming that there will be “agendas” or “ulterior motives” and everyone will get what they “deserve”. Triple H then announces a big match to kick off the show as Dolph Ziggler will defend the Intercontinental Championship against a man who was never actually defeated for the title, Bad News Barrett!
Per the orders of The Authority, the opening match of the first RAW of 2015 would see Dolph Ziggler defend the Intercontinental Championship against the man who was never defeated for the title, Bad News Barrett. In a surprisingly quick matchup, Dolph Ziggler would counter a side slam attempt by Bad News Barrett into a roll-up, scoring the three-count to pick up the win and successfully retain the Intercontinental Championship. However, after the match, an angry Bad News Barrett would take out his frustration on Dolph Ziggler, knocking the Intercontinental Champion out of the ring before tossing Ziggler into the ringside barricade. Barrett then sends Dolph shoulder-first into the steel steps, twice slamming Dolph face-first into the ring apron before sending Ziggler face-first into the steel ring post. With no help in sight for Dolph Ziggler, Bad News Barrett continues the assault, pulling Ziggler up the apron and sending him shoulder-first into the ring post. Back in the ring, Barrett would pick Ziggler up and send him into the ring post for a third time. Back in his suit and tie, Kane would then come out to the stage and, apparently back in his role as Director of Operations, Kane says that, in all of the excitement, The Authority “forgot to mention” that the title match is supposed to be a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match, ordering the referee to ring the bell!
With Dolph Ziggler apparently already scoring the first fall, the bell would ring and the ‘match’ would continue. With a defenseless Dolph Ziggler at his mercy, Bad News Barrett would pick up Dolph and deliver Wasteland, pinning Ziggler to score the second fall of the match, giving both champion and challenger one fall a piece. WWE doctors would then rush in to check on Dolph Ziggler and Dolph would insist that the match continue, so the third portion of the 2-out-of-3 Falls Match gets underway. During the match, Kane would get on the ring apron and, while Kane would catch a super kick to the face from Dolph Ziggler for his troubles, the distraction would pay off as Bad News Barrett would hit the Bull Hammer Elbow on Dolph, pinning Ziggler to become the new Intercontinental Champion.
After a successful debut on RAW and SmackDown last week, The Ascension were in action on RAW as Konnor & Viktor would face two local competitors. In a short and one-sided match, The Ascension would hit the Fall of Man on one of the competitors as Konnor pins the local competitor for the win.
Following several brawls in recent weeks, a match between two of WWE’s most dominant competitors would take place on RAW as Roman Reigns would go one-on-one with “The World’s Largest Athlete” Big Show. During the match, the action would spill to the outside and Big Show would catch Roman Reigns with a big kick to the face. Big Show would then grab the top half of the steel stairs, blasting Roman in the face with the steel, ending the match by disqualification. Big Show then put the steps in the ring, tossing Reigns into the ring as well, but when Big Show picks up the stairs above his head, Roman would spot an opening, blasting Big Show with the Spear as the steel steps land on the face of “The World’s Largest Athlete”!
In their continuing rivalry, the Divas Champion was in action on RAW as Nikki Bella, with Brie Bella in her corner, would face Natalya, with her husband Tyson Kidd nowhere in sight, in a non-title match. Before the match begins, however, Paige makes her way to the ring, hugging Natalya and standing in Natalya’s corner as the match begins. During the match, Paige and Brie Bella would confront each other on the outside as Paige would toss her jacket at Brie before tossing Brie into the ringside barricade. All of the activity on the outside would distract Nikki Bella long enough for Natalya to take advantage as Natalya quickly rolls up the Divas Champion to pick up the win. After the match, Nikki Bella would attack Natalya from behind, but Paige would enter the ring, getting the better of the Divas Champion, blasting Nikki with a kick to the face. Paige then checks on her new ally, raising Natalya’s hand in victory.
Former tag team partners and Wyatt Family members would face off on RAW as Erick Rowan would go one-on-one with Luke Harper. However, before the match begins, it is announced that there will be two special referees for the match as J&J Security come out with referee shirts on to call the match. Throughout the match, J&J Security would repeatedly prevent Erick Rowan from gaining any sort of advantage in the match and, when Rowan is finally able to get some offense in on Luke Harper, J&J Security would refuse to count the pinfall. This would lead to an argument between Erick Rowan and the two referees, allowing Luke Harper to hit the Discus Clothesline on Erick Rowan and, one fast count later, Luke Harper is declared the winner. After the match, J&J Security would jump Erick Rowan and, when Rowan begins to fight back, Luke Harper comes back into the ring and blasts Rowan with another Discus Clothesline. Then, with Harper holding Rowan in place, J&J Security would deliver a double dropkick to the skull of Erick Rowan.
Then it was time for the first ever Ambulance Match to take place on RAW as “The Lunatic Fringe” Dean Ambrose would square off with “The Eater of Worlds” Bray Wyatt in a match where the only way to win is by putting your opponent in the back of an ambulance and closing both doors. The match immediately spills to the outside with Dean Ambrose tossing Bray Wyatt over the announce table before picking Bray up and sending him over the ringside barricade into the crowd. Ambrose then brings Bray to the ambulance, bouncing Bray face-first off the back of the ambulance. Wyatt then battles back, nearly shutting Ambrose inside the ambulance, but “The Lunatic Fringe” would escape the ambulance, hitting a neckbreaker on the concrete floor. Shortly after this, Bray Wyatt slams one of the ambulance doors on Ambrose’s leg before the action returns to the ringside area as Wyatt drives Ambrose knee-first into the steel ring post.
After a back-and-forth battle in the ring, Bray Wyatt would regain the advantage, bringing Dean Ambrose near the ambulance, delivering a clothesline to Ambrose that leaves Ambrose prone on the stage. Wyatt then sets up a table next to the stage, but before Bray could make his next move, Ambrose dives off of the stage, taking Bray down. After both men fail to close the doors on their opponent, Bray tosses Ambrose face-first into the ambulance doors, but Ambrose is quick to fight back, using a backboard as a weapon, even driving the backboard into the throat of Bray Wyatt. Ambrose then drags the table behind the ambulance, laying Bray on the table. Injured knee and all, Dean Ambrose would slowly climb to the top of the ambulance and, with a psychotic look in his eye, “The Lunatic Fringe” would dive off the top of the ambulance with an elbow drop to Bray Wyatt through the table! Ambrose then does his best to pick Wyatt up and drag him towards the ambulance, but Bray would somehow find the strength to hook Ambrose and drive him face-first into the back of the ambulance with Sister Abigail! Bray then tries to toss Ambrose into the back of the ambulance, but only manages to get one door shut before Ambrose keeps the other door from shutting. Wyatt then drags Ambrose out of the ambulance, planting Ambrose with Sister Abigail again, this time on the concrete floor! Bray then picks up the lifeless Ambrose, tossing Ambrose into the back of the ambulance, shutting both doors to pick up the win in a vicious Ambulance Match. As Bray Wyatt sits in shambles, the ambulance with Dean Ambrose in the back drives out of the arena.
In 6-Person Mixed Tag action, the new WWE Tag Team Champions, The Usos, would team with Jimmy Uso’s wife Naomi to face The Miz & Damien Mizdow and their partner, Alicia Fox. During the match, The Miz would try to shove Jimmy Uso into Naomi, but Jimmy would stop himself and The Miz would take advantage, rolling Jimmy up and hooking the tights to pick up the win for his team.
After finding out earlier in the night that he will be a part of the WWE World Heavyweight Title match at the Royal Rumble, “Mr. Money-in-the-Bank” Seth Rollins, with J&J Security in his corner, would have to contend with “The Big Guy” Ryback. However, just as the match is about to begin, Kane comes out, saying that it is just not his night for “remembering things”, informing Ryback that the match is now a 2-on-1 Handicap Match as Ryback would have to not only face Seth Rollins, but Kane as well! Despite the odds of having to contend with Seth Rollins & Kane, not to mention outside interference from J&J Security, Ryback would manage to hold his own in the match, but a Curb Stomp to Ryback would bring an end to Ryback’s momentum. Seth Rollins would then follow this up with a second Curb Stomp, pinning Ryback to pick up the win for himself and Kane.
The New Day would be a part of RAW as Big E, with Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston in his corner, would face Adam Rose, with The Exotic Express in his corner. During the match, Big E would set up for a big splash on Adam Rose, but one of Adam Rose’s Rosebuds would rush the ring, attacking Big E and ending the match by disqualification. Another Rosebud would then toss Xavier Woods into the steel steps while the first Rosebud takes Kofi Kingston out with a dropkick through the ropes. The first Rosebud then lifts Big E up into a powerbomb position before the second Rosebud comes off of the top rope with a huge neckbreaker to Big E! The two Rosebuds then unmask to reveal that it was Cesaro & Tyson Kidd disguised as Rosebuds! Cesaro & Tyson Kidd then celebrate with Adam Rose and The Exotic Express in the ring.
Then it was time for The Authority to ‘honor’ John Cena with a celebration to conclude John Cena Appreciation Night as Triple H & Stephanie McMahon make their way to the ring. Stephanie says that John Cena knows what is “best for business” and that is reinstating The Authority before Stephanie introduces the “man of the hour”, John Cena, who is forced to take part in the proceedings due to Stephanie making his participation “mandatory”. With John Cena in the ring, Triple H shows John Cena the events of last week that forced Cena to reinstate The Authority before being assaulted by Seth Rollins & Big Show. After showing the footage, Stephanie tells John Cena that Cena is her “hero” and Triple H says that he was not initially fond of Cena, but he saw “greatness” in John Cena before anyone else. Triple H continues, saying that he is starting to see a “different John Cena”, but if he is wrong, then he wants Cena to know that he “appreciates” him. Triple H then says that he wants to bring a few guys out there who, if they do not “appreciate” John Cena now, they will by the end of the night. With that, Triple H brings out the three men that have been punished by The Authority throughout the night as Ryback, Erick Rowan, & Dolph Ziggler all reluctantly make their way to the ring.
Triple H welcomes the three Superstars to John Cena Appreciation Night, saying that they showed their “appreciation” for John Cena when they made the decision to join Team Cena at Survivor Series. Triple H continues, saying that they told them then that there would be “consequences” for them going against The Authority, but they thought that, by defeating Team Authority, they would not face any consequences for their participation. Triple H then says that Cena threw away their opportunity to walk away without punishment. Triple H then says that they should get started with the “consequences”, first addressing Erick Rowan, saying that Rowan wasn’t really a big player in the Survivor Series match until the very end, saying Rowan entered the match “sheepishly”. Triple H continues, saying that they have to give Rowan some sort of “punishment”, pondering with his wife if they should suspend Rowan for thirty days without pay. Stephanie then says that, if they suspend Rowan, then what will they do with Ryback, who originally joined Team Authority only to turn his back on Team Authority to join Team Cena. Triple H then suggests that Ryback receive a sixty day suspension, but says that, if they are going to suspend Ryback for sixty days, then what will they do with Dolph Ziggler. Triple H says that Dolph Ziggler is the one who put the “final nail in the coffin” of Team Authority at Survivor Series with the help of Sting. With Erick Rowan getting a thirty day suspension and Ryback getting sixty, Triple H actually asks Dolph Ziggler what he thinks should be his punishment with Dolph suggesting a ninety day suspension.
Clearly toying with the three men, as well as John Cena, The Authority say that they need to have a “private conversation”, so Triple H & Stephanie McMahon exit the ring, walking up the ramp while having their discussion. Once they reach the stage, Stephanie says that, instead of suspending Ryback, Erick Rowan, & Dolph Ziggler, all three of them are fired! This brings a look of sorrow to the face of John Cena as Stephanie says that they can all “thank” John Cena for costing them their livelihoods. Triple H then adds that John Cena has successfully made three men “lose their livelihoods” and he has reinstated The Authority before saying “let’s hear it for John Cena”. A celebratory theme then plays in the arena as confetti and balloons rain down on a stunned John Cena and the three men he inadvertently got fired from WWE, all while Triple H & Stephanie McMahon smile and celebrate on the stage.
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