Hoo boy, this is gonna be a rough one folks. Welcome to a somber and tearful Raw review, brought to you by an already emotionally drained Dan. Tonight is the night we all expected in the back of our minds but were hoping wouldn’t come to be. Daniel Bryan is officially announcing his retirement. It’s gonna be a very sad night, and not much else is really gonna matter in people’s minds tonight, but we still got the full 3 hours to go through. As we always do, let’s jump right into it.
Right off the bat, a short video is played showing Bryan’s tweet from earlier with a montage of him YES-ing with sad music. Damn it, WWE, give me a few minutes to prepare before you punch me straight in the gut. We’re starting off with Steph overseeing the Fast Lane main event contract signing. The crowd couldn’t even try to care about her opening monologue, it’s all D-Bry chants and boos. Ambrose cuts her off and is pissed about Lesnar beating him down last week and wants to get right to business. Reigns comes out and wants to join Ambrose in getting retribution on Lesnar. Steph is tired of it and finally brings Lesnar out. Lesnar leaps onto the stage menacingly and stalks down to the ring. Heyman tries to start his bit but Steph cuts him off and makes everyone sign and quickly exits before shit goes down. Heyman calls Ambrose the ‘little brother’ and Reigns the ‘big brother Samoan badass’ and tells Roman to warn Ambrose about Lesnar’s beatdowns. Ambrose puffs his chest out and walks up to The Beast and gets thrown over the table into Reigns, Lesnar throws the table at Reigns and F5’s Ambrose before exiting. That’s how EVERY Lesnar confrontation should end, every single time. A short and sweet beatdown and leave. Triple H comes out and faces off with Lesnar before the segment ends.
The show is filled with footage of Bryan throughout the years. It’s gonna be a whole night of tears.
Yes, this match is happening again. Owens knocks Ziggler around the ring while taunting him, Ziggler locks in a sleeper and Owens throws himself out of the ring with Ziggler attached to break it. This isn’t a bad match by any means, but after 3 consecutive weeks of it, it’s just kinda there. A lengthy match with some decent action regardless, but a terrible finish. Owens goes for the cannonball, Ziggler moves out of the way and rolls him up, putting his feet on the ropes to steal the win. Dolph Ziggler, a face, using heel tactics to win a match, and Owens gets pinned again in this throwaway feud. Good lord. Even worse, the ref was in full view of Ziggler and Owens BOTH touching the bottom rope too, so the whole thing is just a mess.
In a case of ‘we’re writing this show on the fly’ , The Usos will face New Day in a Tables match tonight. The Dudleyz confront them backstage and say it should be them in a Tables match with the New Day, and propose that they team up to face New Day tonight. No idea what this could possibly end up in. Also, Ryback vs. Bray later with a random Ryback video package that I’m pretty sure they recycled from the past.
Charlotte vs. Brie for Fast Lane is announced, that’ll be somethin’. This was a bit of a mess but Alicia was the highlight with her small bit of offense. Alicia executes a helluva tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Charlotte dominated most of it and won with the Figure-Eight. The Dudleyz/Usos vs New Day match is officially announced and New Day will have a mystery partner?! This could be interesting..
MizTV with Jericho is next. Miz goes off about his encounter with AJ Styles last week and is interrupted by Jericho who has once again forgot to wear a shirt under his jacket. Jericho claims that we have some CR-AZY people here tonight to a small pop. Jericho does his shtick and to no one’s surprise, makes MizTV into the Highlight Reel. Jericho rolls the clip of Styles backfisting Miz’s teeth out of his head. The crowd chants ‘you look stupid’ and Miz says he can’t possibly look stupid cause he’s not Sheamus. Jericho gets the crowd to sing ‘All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth’ somehow, and Miz rolls his own clip of Jericho getting beat by Styles in his debut match, and says it must be eating him alive. Jericho says we know Styles is good, but is he great? Jericho says he’ll have to remind him that he’s the best in the world at what he does and out comes Styles. Styles and Jericho deal with Miz and face off before fighting. Miz pulls Jericho out of the ring and Jericho tosses him over the announce table before standing on the apron, staring at Styles before leaving. Great segment, their build-up with Styles has been on point, and I don’t think anyone expected Jericho and Miz to be the ones to build him as well as they have.
Ryback’s new trunks attire is a bit terrifying. It just doesn’t look right for The Big Guy to be so bare. That’s an odd sentence but I’m sticking to it. Ryback has little trouble dispatching Bray in the earlygoings but the Family runs interference to turn the tables. Some guy in the crowd kept yelling SHOW YOUR FACE to Strowman as they faded to commercial which was pretty amazing. Ryback runs the ropes and hits a high speed crossbody and a spinebuster to Bray. Ryback calls for the Meathook and gets caught into a Sister Abigail for Bray to pick up the win. The rest of the Wyatts get in and destroy Ryback, Bray hitting a Sister Abigail on the floor to end the destruction. A weirdly alright match here. The Ryback turning up the workrate to make Bryan happy, I bet. 🙁
New Day are backstage polishing a table. Renee talks to them about their 4th partner but they haven’t found one yet, but they have work to do. Big E sings WORKIN’ ON THE TABLES as they continue their important work. We can always count on New Day to cheer us up during these trying times.
Titus is out here to face Adam Rose who calls himself the ‘Radical Mongoose’ much to the dismay of the other Social Outcasts. Rose gets some offense in surprisingly but gets manhandled by Titus. The Outcasts pull Rose out and Slater distracts Titus for Rose to roll him up and steal the win. Wow. Well… that’s certainly something. Titus’ few week long push derailed by Adam Rose. Can’t say I saw that coming.
Ambrose is out here calling out Lesnar, taking cheap shots at him to provoke him. Telling Lesnar to ‘put some stank’ on the next F5 which made me cringe because who the fuck says that in 2016? He even makes a dick joke saying Lesnar can’t get it up. What a wacky guy. Lesnar finally comes out and has a giggle about Ambrose but Ambrose goes right after him and gets fucked up. Lesnar throws him into the apron, drills him with knees and tosses him into the barricade. Ambrose keeps getting up to get knocked down. Lesnar picks him up and gives him a mercy killing with an F5. Ambrose gets up again and Reigns comes out, distracting Lesnar for Ambrose to hit him in the balls and duck out. What? Why build up Ambrose to be so crazy that he can no-sell Lesnar’s offense for him to just punch him in the dick and run away? I get the nailed-into-our-heads HE’S SO CRAZY gimmick but that’s just nonsensical man. If you’re gonna build up Ambrose as the guy, then just do it. What purpose did Reigns serve in this? I don’t get any of it. Just a terribly written segment.
R-Truth is shown earlier walking around Seattle and stumbles across Goldust dressed as Jimi Hendrix. That’s all I can say about this ridiculous segment because I cannot put it into words for you.
Sasha is out here on commentary killing me with a bo$$ outfit. Sasha calls herself the Beyonce of Team BAD. Tamina outpowers Becky throughout the match and Naomi gives her the occasional hand. Tamina stares down Sasha and Sasha throws off the headset to confront her but gets taken out by Naomi who hits her with a mean shot and throws her into the steps. Becky hits the Lassplex on Naomi on the outside and gets back in to meet a mean superkick from Tamina for the win. Man, these finishes tonight are some big swing-and-miss situations.
New Day have found their partner backstage, offering him a unicorn horn to accept their offer. A big hand takes the horn and the camera pans to see Mark Henry. Henry dances with New Day as we go to commercial. This Raw is so goddamn weird.
This match is barely a match. I’m not really sure what happened during the immediate commercial break but right after, Mark Henry got fed up and left New Day to get destroyed by The Usos/Dudleys. New Day try to make a comeback but Dudleys win with a 3D through the table. After a short celebration, The Dudleys attack Usos outta nowhere, destroying them both for no inexplicable reason. A Dudleys heel turn in 2016? Strange, but probably the better option if they’re sticking around. I could go without seeing them wrestle more though.
Well, folks. The inevitable has come. It’s time for Daniel Bryan to exit. A very emotional video package looking back on his insane career is played. Bryan’s music hits and he comes out to a ridiculous pop, everyone on their feet clapping. Bryan is already emotional as the crowd won’t stop cheering and chanting for him. Bryan breaks his silence and says when he closed his eyes he could feel how the crowd’s love felt. Bryan jokes about not wanting to cut his beard and says he cut his hair for an organization called Wigs for Kids. Bryan talks about the elephant in the room, saying he’s dealt with concussions throughout the career and after sixteen years it adds up. Bryan said he got a bunch of evaluations that said he was fine and he could wrestle again. A week and a half ago, he took a test that said his brain isn’t as healthy as he thought it was. Bryan says he has a family to think about, and his wife and him might have kids soon (!!!!). “That’s what Brie says all the time!”. Bryan making me laugh and cry at the same time. Bryan gets serious and officially announces his retirement. Bryan says he’s gone through all the emotions, but woke up today and felt nothing but gratitude. Bryan lists things that he loves, including the reactions he gets, the places he’s wrestled and the people he’s met, like Kane, Regal, and of course, Connor. Bryan says he’s grateful for the way that everyone got behind him. Bryan talks about how they hijacked Raw during the big Orton/Cena championship coronation, and how his dad was there to see that. It’s very hard to type while trying not to bawl. I can’t do any of this justice so please go watch it if you missed it. Bryan says he’s grateful to share this moment with everyone who loves him. Bryan says tomorrow he starts a life where he’s not a wrestler, but that’s not tonight. Bryan calls for one last YES! chant and you know damn well the crowd grants him that wish. What a perfect way to go out. A perfect speech with a roller coaster of emotions and I loved every second of it.
Instead of recapping Raw, I’ll leave you with this. From the late 90s to the early 2000s, me and my family were huge wrestling fans for a long while, but my family’s enthusiasm for wrestling burned out and so did mine. On one particularly boring night in 2011, I saw that WWE had their TLC PPV on and decided (through the power of the internet) to take a look and see the current state of the company. I tuned in about midway through and was finding myself fading in and out of interest watching it, and then the Henry/Show match ended. Bryan’s music hit and I had no idea what was happening, but when he cashed in and won that championship I was immediately a fan. When he shoved the title in Michael Cole’s face and yelled, I loved it. From then on, I watched WWE again, I got into wrestling again. I went back and watched his stuff, what I had missed, I was an instant fan. I followed his career from then on. He inspired me and made me smile and laugh countless times. I don’t think there will ever be a happier, more perfect moment in wrestling than when he won the championship at WrestleMania 30. My family was instantly behind him when we all watched it, even not seeing a single thing he did. That’s the power he had. Even being in tears during his retirement speech, he still made me smile and laugh. Bryan is, and always will be an amazing human being. Thank you for everything, American Dragon.
— WWE (@WWE) February 9, 2016