Greetings and salutations, boys and girls, and welcome to the first Rajah main page installment of the most prestigious countdown list of the year, the Rajah Forums Countdown of WWE’s Best Matches of 2014!
Now, many of you have never visited the forums that are connected to this wonderful haven of news and features before, and so you might be unfamiliar with this countdown. The idea is that at the end of the year, dozens of Rajah forum members submitted lists of the WWE matches that they thought were the best. After an exhaustive process of averaging and general mathiness, a top 25 list was composed and over the course of the next few weeks, it will be revealed one match at a time.
If you agree or disagree with the matches on this list, or just wish to give your thoughts on them in a rad place full of skateboarding dinosaurs and charming secret agents, then hop on down to the Rajah Forums, make yourself an account and join the party.
Now let’s get on with the next installment of the countdown…
This match felt big and even though it’s 5-on-5, the deck is stacked against Team Cena. Team Authority have Trips, Stephanie, Noble, Mercury AND Lana in their corner, whilst Team Cena have no one. Henry and Big Show look set to start the match off but Henry arrogantly delays things before walking right into a KO punch and staying down for three. There was a notable pause as everyone selled the elimination as a huge deal. Cole says that Triple H is so mad he’s ripped his tie off and the camera shows a fuming Hunter sitting in front of the announce table, looking at the floor. It was worth spending time over this, rather than getting Henry out as soon as possible and moving on, which would have just left the announcers to convince you how important the early elimination was.
Team Cena is mostly in control early on. Rowan dominates Rollins and Ryback has success against everyone… until Rusev steps up. The two powerhouses really don’t like each other and it’s a shame this feud wasn’t given the immediate focus it deserved. They went with Ryback/Kane for TLC and then rushed the Rusev/Ryback feud on TV. Ryback’s elimination is well done. The match breaks down, Rollins hits a curb stomp behind the ref’s back and Rusev finishes him off with the jumping side kick. Even the unbeatable Rusev couldn’t put Ryback way on his own – it took the help of Rollins and his super finisher.
When Team Authority regain control, as you’d hope, it’s Dolph who is isolated. He bumps for the heels and sells well before making a series of comebacks. The first, against Seth, only has so much success. Against Rusev he hits a great DDT counter but the count is broken by Harper and everyone gets involved, hitting their finishers on one another. This is followed by a big spot – Rusev powerbombs Ziggler over the ropes and into a waiting group. Rusev’s already looking like a killer as he drags Dolph over to the announce table and attempts a running splash, but Dolph moves and Rusev is counted out to a big pop. It’s again sold as a massive event by everyone involved.
Rollins once again sneaks in to hit Cena with a curb stomp and Cole loses it: “Rollins isn’t even legal! Is somebody gonna do something about this!? Take control ref!” Rowan is soon eliminated only after more interference from Seth. A Big Show heel turn isn’t exactly a shocking event but this one worked well and came at just the right time. Just as the faces were starting to fall behind, Show knocks Cena out just like that, shakes Triple H’s hand and walks out. Suddenly, two more men are gone from Team Cena. The Authority celebrate as Stephanie superbly taunts a crestfallen Cena. She’s really in her element. There’s a great shot of her returning to her side of the ring, passing a fallen Ziggler. He’s the only man left on Team Cena and he looks completely finished.
The announcers talk like it’s a foregone conclusion: “Dolph knows he’s getting fired, he might as well go down swinging right?” Ziggler eliminates Kane but looks done for when Harper starts taking him apart. Dolph is limp but just manages to kick out after a sit down powerbomb. Harper starts to lose it but The Authority plead with him to stay focused and get the job done. He takes too long and Dolph is able to roll him up for a shock three count and amazingly we’re back to Ziggler and Rollins. Dolph is exhausted but he keeps coming back and almost takes it with a couple of flash near falls. At this point, the crowd is really behind Ziggler and the final few minutes are just nuts. The J&J interference is great – they’re completely incompetent but it’s a lot of fun to see Ziggler avoid and get the better of them. There’s a particularly good domino effect moment when he pushes one into another, who then crashes into Stephanie who falls off the apron and into Triple H. I loved Hunter doing away with two referees, taking his jacket off and then just laying into Dolph. Scott Armstrong being brought out to count the three was a nice touch – the kind of little attention to detail that adds a lot but WWE rarely feel the need to bother with. The work between Ziggler and Rollins is just right of this kind of end. They’re both exhausted but can muster up just enough energy to hit a quick move out of nowhere. Finally, you’ve got Sting’s surprise appearance. Even without it, this is an exciting finish, but such a monumental run-in really pushed this onto another level. We get the Trips staredown, the Scorpion deathdrop, and the three count. The Authority are beside themselves and Cena’s out to congratulate Ziggler who for one night looked like a legitimate top tier star.
This had everything. The entrances began with over an hour to run on the PPV and the show ended up drawing to close with less than a minute left. One third of the show and one whole hour of great pro-wrestling entertainment.