Mike Tedesco’s RAW Thoughts
February 3, 2015
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
Well that was certainly an interesting edition of Monday Night RAW. Coming off the big cliffhanger Triple H left on Smackdown about making an announcement that will shake the WWE Universe to its very core, I have to figure the interest level in the show was high. They didn’t disappoint on the announcement. Of course, we’re left with more questions than answers, but it definitely makes the WrestleMania main event scene much more interesting in the coming weeks.
The big announcement
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon made their way to the ring to kick off the show and make the big teased announcement. They started off talking about the Patriots’ Super Bowl victory the night before and how they were there. As soon as they started off talking about that, I knew it was going to be at least twenty minutes until they made the actual announcement. I did have to chuckle at them making fun of the NFL having to survive the #CancelNFLNetwork trend.
Triple H then goes on to talk about what made the Royal Rumble match controversial in their eyes. The Rock interfered and helped Roman Reigns fight off Big Show and Kane. The Rock isn’t an active WWE Superstar anymore and shouldn’t have gotten involved. They wonder what would have happened. Perhaps Big Show and Kane would have beaten Reigns down so Rusev could come back in and easily eliminate him. Roman Reigns came out to a very mixed reaction from the Denver crowd and got in their faces. He didn’t say much (smart) except that he couldn’t believe they were trying to take away his spot.
That led to Daniel Bryan coming out, who got an enormous pop. It’s kind of funny that Triple H started off his promo saying they listen to the WWE Universe. If they listened, they probably wouldn’t be in this spot where they seem to be in backtrack mode. Bryan talked about being stripped of the title and never getting a rematch. I would have liked it if he said he got stripped of the title because he was going to be gone for a long time only for a guy to win it who would also be gone for a long time.
That led to Seth Rollins coming out… and they awkwardly went to commercial right there. When they came back, they just continued on. Rollins put himself over as the guy who stole the show at Royal Rumble and broke Brock Lesnar’s ribs. Finally, after about twenty minutes, Triple H got to the point. To remove any doubt over who should go to the main event of WrestleMania, Daniel Bryan will face Seth Rollins in the main event. The winner will face Roman Reigns at Fast Lane. The winner of that match will go on to main event WrestleMania against Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. That’s a big announcement. They then made Roman Reigns look quite foolish (as they’ve been doing for weeks with bad promos and booking) by accepting the stipulation.
More Roman Reigns vs. Big Show? Really??
I thought for sure when Roman Reigns finally picked up a pinfall victory over Big Show on this past Thursday’s Smackdown that that would be the end of this hideous feud. Instead it continues on. To make matters worse, Big Show picked up the victory over Reigns. If Reigns really is going to WrestleMania, he shouldn’t be losing at all, let alone to the Big Show. You’d have to go back a long, long time to find the last time Reigns has taken a pinfall loss. I think I remember early on in his Shield run when Reigns was Tag Team Champion with Rollins as the last time he got pinned. A terrible match with a very questionable finish.
The Curtis Axel plot hole is filled
Curtis Axel was supposed to be in the Royal Rumble, but Erick Rowan attacked him from behind and unofficially took his spot. Axel never got to enter, which made him a trending topic last Sunday night. Axel came out this week complaining about not getting into the match and how he would have actually won it. The commentators made a joke out of him, and JBL implored viewers to actually change the channel. How stupid is that? I get you want to make the guy look like a goof, but insisting they change the channel? That… that’s just stupid.
Anyway, Dean Ambrose came out, punched him around a bit, and threw him over the top rope to “eliminate” him. Ambrose then mentioned that he beat Bad News Barrett two weeks ago and should be in line for a title shot. At least someone cares about wins and losses in this company. It looks like that’ll be a Fast Lane match. Given the track record of recent Intercontinental Champions and the fact that Ambrose hasn’t won many matches since The Shield broke up, I wouldn’t be elbowing my way to the front of the line to get that curse on my shoulder.
Tension mounts between Goldust and Stardust
It looks like they’re right on the precipice of pulling the trigger on a Goldust vs. Cody Rhodes feud, something I know both guys have been waiting a long time for. Goldust seems like he’s at the end of his full-time wrestling career, so putting over his brother might be the way he goes out. They teased some tension between them on Smackdown (where they also faced The Ascension), so they followed up with it last night. Goldust tried to talk some sense into him by calling him “Cody,” but Stardust warned him to never call him that again. I guess he’ll stay as Stardust even after Goldust? I guess it’s better than “Dashing” Cody Rhodes, but that gimmick had its moments.
John Cena welcomes Ziggler, Rowan, and Ryback back… two weeks late
They already did this on the Smackdown before the Royal Rumble only with Daniel Bryan welcoming them back because Cena doesn’t want to work on Tuesday. So much happens in WWE that until they brought this up, I had already forgotten they were fired at one point. Then again they only missed one week of television. Cena put himself over before bringing them out. Cena talked about fighting against The Authority and continuing to persevere. After bringing them out, they were immediately interrupted by Stephanie McMahon, who put all three in tough matches, which is exactly how Triple H handled them on Smackdown a week and a half ago. It’s literally the same angle with just a different authority figure.
Ryback and Luke Harper have some chemistry
At least that segment was pretty quick and led to this surprisingly good match. It’s no secret that some of my favorite matches involve two athletic big guys just going out there and having a slugfest. That’s what Harper and Ryback did last night, and it was quite enjoyable. I would absolutely love to see more of this match-up.
Cesaro and Jimmy Uso take nothing and make it something
When I saw that Cesaro and Jimmy Uso were having a match, I figured based on the track record that this was going to be a quick contest with not a lot of excitement before moving on to something else. I’m glad I was wrong. These two guys took a segment that is usually filed in the “Whatever” category and put on a fantastic match. Cesaro’s ability cannot be doubted, but I have to say Jimmy Uso really showed me something by hanging in there with him. One of the last times WWE was in Denver, Cesaro had an unbelievable match against John Cena. Seeing him wasted in a mostly thrown together tag team is a shame, but at least he’s still putting out quality work. His will hasn’t been broken.
Bray Wyatt and Dolph Ziggler have an awesome match
This was another match I wasn’t expecting much from. I figured they’re building Wyatt up for The Undertaker at WrestleMania, so he isn’t going to be losing anytime soon, and they’re not doing much at all with Ziggler. These two proved me wrong. They took a match that I wasn’t thinking would be anything special and made it special. It was very, very good. It’s amazing how far Wyatt has come since returning at Hell in a Cell. He’s a different guy. After the John Cena feud and disappointing Chris Jericho feud, he seemed like he had lost his edge. Well it’s back in a big way. This guy is over and having great matches. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion by the end of the year. He’s on fire. I don’t think the loss to The Undertaker will hurt him one bit. It might make his character even darker and demented.
Anyway, I highly suggest you check this match out. My only problem with it was Wyatt popping up and no selling the famouser, but that he’s done stuff like that before. I guess they want to sell the fact that he may have supernatural abilities like Undertaker does.
The Bellas spray Paige with tanning lotion
At least I think it was tanning lotion. It was really black. I hope they weren’t spray-painting her black at the start of Black History Month. Paige’s match against Alicia Fox was ok. Nothing special. I guess Natalya’s title shot has been completely dropped? That’s fine by me. To me, Natalya is just way too awkward to be on television. Maybe she should go to Roman Reigns’ acting coach. Then again, maybe not.
The Miz and Damien Mizdow have relationship troubles
I actually really liked all of their segments last night. The Miz made Damien Mizdow his personal assistant after claiming fame went to Mizdow’s head. The Miz was then so distracted by making sure Mizdow wasn’t doing anything entertaining at ringside that he wound up losing to Sin Cara. It was just a lot of fun to watch. They’re definitely breaking up soon. I just don’t know what you do with Mizdow after that.
Rusev and Lana tear the house down
Man, oh man, I loved this segment with Rusev and Lana. Rusev beat the tar out of Erick Rowan and dumped him out of the ring like yesterday’s garbage (his great friend, John Cena, was nowhere to be found; how awful of a friend do they book Cena to be?), and then Lana put over Rusev’s dominance. Rusev is unbelievable. I really hope he doesn’t lose to Cena. If he does, he better not lose again for another six months to make the undefeated streak not look like a fluke. The best part of the segment was a mishap with the Russian Federation flag. It got hung up on the rafters. The crowd laughed at them, and they flipped out before Rusev got the smaller flag and viciously waved it around. That was incredible. Go out of your way to check this out.
The main event leads to a ton of questions
Daniel Bryan and Seth Rollins absolutely tore the house down with a fantastic RAW main event. It was so good that I couldn’t believe they just gave it away for free like that. There were a ton of twists and turns. I loved Rollins countering the super hurricanrana into a sunset flip pin for the near fall. I also loved him countering the Busaiku Knee Kick into a turnbuckle powerbomb. Both men took some big bumps and made this a very memorable, entertaining match. Roman Reigns came down to take Big Show and J&J Security out. Reigns then punched Rollins, which caused him to eat a Busaiku Knee Kick for the loss.
Daniel Bryan will be the one going on to face Roman Reigns at WWE Fast Lane with the winner going to the main event of WrestleMania. This leaves a ton of questions out there. Are they crazy enough to think that Reigns beating Bryan at Fast Lane will actually make people think he should go to the main event of WrestleMania? I think if they go that route, people will hate Reigns even more for being the handpicked guy who ran over the sentimental fan favorite. That result would kill the main event of WrestleMania.
Do they have Bryan beat Reigns and spoil WWE’s coronation of their next top guy? If WWE hadn’t so poorly mishandled Reigns in the first place, they wouldn’t be in this position. It’s hard to say that Reigns was completely prepared for this type of push in the immediate aftermath of The Shield’s breakup. Sure, he was getting great reactions, but there was no indications that he’d be able to be a strong singles competitor. Then they started giving him promos where he would say, “Randy Orton has the venom, but I have the antidote,” before holding up his fist. That was back in August. They killed him dead with 80’s B-movie action hero lines before he ever uttered “suffering succotash” or recited Jack and the Beanstalk. Those big pops he was getting slowly started to fade until they bottomed out at Royal Rumble.
On top of that, they put him in a beyond bad feud with the Big Show (which doesn’t appear to be over either). I think with all the negative media attention they got from this, putting a stopper on the Reigns push might be the smartest choice in the short term. It was obvious in September that he wasn’t going to be ready for WrestleMania. What’s the harm in holding it off until SummerSlam? They seemed to set up a possible heel turn by the way he talked to Bryan in the locker room. That wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for him right now. Can he recover from possibly being removed from the WrestleMania main event? That’s a question for another time.
No matter what, it’s a very interesting time for WWE. They’re right where they were last year in that they seem to be pushing the restart button for WrestleMania. I’m interested to see where it goes from here. WWE Fast Lane just got a whole lot more fascinating.
This was actually a very good show. The first hour was a complete waste with a long, long opening segment followed by one comedy angle and two subpar matches. The rest of the show after 9:00 was excellent. They seem to be realizing that the original plans for WrestleMania might not be the greatest, so they’re doing the right thing and trying to salvage it as best they can. It’ll be an interesting few weeks for WWE to say the least. They can either make this a very memorable WrestleMania with a potentially fantastic main event, or they can stay the course and potentially make the main event of WrestleMania the strangest one of all time with nuclear fan reactions.
Bump of the Night: Roman Reigns spearing Joey Mercury at ringside!
Match of the Night: Daniel Bryan vs. Seth Rollins *** 1/2
Final Rating: *** 1/4
Check out my recap of this week’s RAW here. Be sure to check out my Smackdown recap this Thursday!
Thanks for reading!
Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE RAW and Smackdown for Wrestleview.com.