This was largely story driven, but sometimes we need Raws like this one. It was going to be interesting to see how they progressed the feud between Bryan and Reigns, because they’re in need of some tension. After this Sunday, we’re one week away from the last PPV before Mania, it’s about time WWE set their programs straight.
Opening Promo- Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan
Just in case some of you didn’t hear, Columbus wasn’t a pro Roman Reigns crowd. Reigns’ new style has me thinking they’re making him more of a tweener than a heel or face. His promo was decent, it shows that he’s improving on the mic, and is finding ways to become comfortable. I didn’t understand why Bryan thanked Roman, because he could have just done that on Smackdown. They must think people don’t watch the Thursday portion of their programming. Bryan received the bigger pop out of the two, but there was a split reaction when Bryan claimed to be the better wrestler. The crowd was definitely tough to read. Watching these two has been refreshing simply because of their opposite personalities. Once the Authority came out, Stephanie was very comedic, I actually burst out in laughter when she spoke about the casket match. Now this segment wasn’t bad, but in my opinion it became great when Daniel made the Katie Vick reference.
Kane & Big Show vs Roman Reigns & Daniel Bryan
The match itself was going well, even when Big Show and Roman were wrestling, but I felt soured when the camera stayed on Kane keeping Reigns in the weakest chin lock I’ve ever seen. I’ll admit though, I was really hoping Bryan would make the hot tag, it would have made for an exciting moment. The match ended in a DQ but the drama afterwards was amazing. After they cleared Big Show, Reigns and Bryan finally got into each other’s face, and I was praying they would get into some sort of physical altercation. The roster must have been thin last night, since these four competitors had to pull off double duty. Adding J&J security to the match later was a bad decision, because they just make the match feel more crowded.
Ryback vs Seth Rollins
This match was going very well. Rollins sold well, and Ryback executed some great moves,. I thought it could have went on longer before the inevitable interference from J&J. The only thing that continued to distract me was the black extension on Ryback’s tights. I kept wondering if he was hiding an injury, or maybe the person that air brushes his tights forgot to finish the rest.
Paige vs Brie Bella
How great was it to hear Brie’s theme song? It’s been quite some time since she’s entered with that song. I absolutely loved Paige’s immediate aggression, she really knew how to sell last week’s angle. I’d also be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy Brie in this match. The missile drop kick on to Paige was impressive to say the least. Paige obviously needed to come out on top in order for this rivalry to look even.
This promo was great on Rusev’s part, especially the way he acknowledged what the crowd was chanting. The video itself was unnecessary, because it didn’t apply to this feud very much. People may criticize Cena, but I think he did a good job at makng Rusev look like a threat. Luckily for this segment, Cena kept his jokes to a limit, but the joke about Lana having “balls” was very unnecessary because it’s not like Rusev has been some sort of cowardly heel. The brawl between the two was a good touch to this segment, I’m happy Rusev came out looking strong.
Dolph Ziggler vs Bray Wyatt/Bray Wyatt Promo
This match was just as good as their match last week, if not better. What’s amazing about these two is that they can start a match at a high pace and keep it going. The cross body counter from Wyatt and the sell from Ziggler was beautiful, I was in complete awe. I don’t believe these matches make Ziggler look weak either, because he puts on a great show and gets in some good offense on Bray. With two wins in a row against another upper mid card wrestler means they’re building Wyatt up to be stronger for Undertaker.
Wyatt’s promo, as I predicted, was similar to the one he cut last week. It’s only a matter of time before this being “finds him”. I’d put my money on Taker returning at Fastlane. That is easily the best night to have him return considering how the Network is free for new subscribers at the moment.
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman Promo
Lesnar wasn’t heavily advertised for this show, which is very odd. The only thing I took from this promo is that they really are exploring the possible idea of a triple threat match at Mania. Heyman did a great job at degrading Bryan, and he made him seem like someone that had the smallest chance of beating Brock. Oher than using this as a way to tease a three way at Mania, this was a complete waste of a Brock appearance.
New Day vs Gold and Stardust
They’ve teased break ups before but it can’t get more official when it’s acknowledged on the preshow, and when Stardust walks out at the beginning of the match. I was hoping their backstage segment became a little more heated. When Stardust refuses to call himself Cody, I fear their eventual match might be Dustin Rhodes vs Stardust.
Triple H Promo
This was an amazing promo, it was executed very well. Hunter has done a great job at adding substance to his young feud with Sting. The WCW angle was great, and probably the only logical way of going about this. As of right now, I’m curious to know what they’ll have Sting say come Fastlane. The video package put together was chilling, and effective .The only thing I couldn’t get over was the obvious fake Sting that came from behind and vanished. I’m not sure if they did that on purpose, but it took away from this great promo.
The Usos vs Tyson Kidd & Cesaro
I can’t believe they showed that double date, it just made Natty look like the worst actress on the roster. Kidd and Cesaro have done a great job at making themselves hated heels. They took a considerable amount of control in this match to begin with, and I was shocked the maintained there momentum. I didn’t like that the Usos lost, simply because the champions shouldn’t job in non-title matches. Also there would have been no better way than to announce that Rikishi was going into the HOF than having his sons win right before.
Mizdow vs Sin Cara
The match was decent, but it was obvious the main angle here was to tease Miz and Mizdow’s problems. I personally believe it would have been better to have Mizdow win, and they could have had Miz be angry about Mizdow beat Sin Cara and he couldn’t. I hope the break up between these two happens before the tease gets stale.
Dean Ambrose vs Curtis Axel
I’m surprised this wasn’t a full on squash match. This seems like lazy booking on creatives part, because Ambrose doesn’t need to face Axel three weeks in a row. Either way, it was nice to see Axel get in some offense, because he’s been looking bad these past few weeks. Is Barrett touring on the other side of the world? I think he should be making some more appearances in person, because we haven’t seen him live since the Rumble.
Big Show, Kane, J&J, and Seth Rollins vs Roman Reigns & Daniel Bryan
This match was all over the place, and honestly, I loved it. The beat down of Bryan and Reigns was effective to set the tone. I didn’t think they’d have both men hardly wrestle though. I mentioned in my predictions that I was convinced Orton would run in to help out Bryan and Roman, but instead we got Cena’s Survivor Series pals. Why didn’t this match ended in DQ? There was clear outside. This of course was all meant for Bryan and Reigns to be left alone. The “mark out” moment of this show was obviously the Roman and Daniel face off at the very end. I was surprised they actually let Roman stand tall at the end, but I picture Bryan getting back at him next Monday.
As I mentioned yesterday, this Raw was going to be promo heavy, and it was. Even the matches were meant to grow story lines by having odd interferences and spots. When it’s Wrestlemania season though, Raw’s such as this are essential to keep everything going .This was the only way to build this show because these rivalries needed some more development. Overall I give this show a 7.5/10 or a B.