Raw got off to a hot start last night with a great segment between Daniel Bryan and The Authority. WWE smartly played to the crowd by letting Bryan opening the show – it essentially tackled the Royal Rumble problem head-on. Seeing Bryan call Triple H out on his biased decision making, and hearing Triple H respond with the classic heel excuses, made the first twenty minutes a delight. I didn’t care much for seeing Bryan get smashed by The Shield. On the other hand, at least WWE had the forethought to set up its main event.
The rest of hour one didn’t amount to much. Do you love WWE’s mid-card? Can’t miss an episode of WWE Superstars…errr, Main Event? Then you probably felt right at home.
Seeing Randy Orton, Batista, and Brock Lesnar argue about whatever it was they were arguing about (championships? biggest biceps? tightest jeans?) made me snooze a little. Batista needs to re-learn how to cut a promo. But at least Paul Heyman was there to make things interesting. I loved the threat by Lesnar, and possible set-up for a match later in the evening, but hated to seeing creative drop the ball with any follow-through. Imagine how much better seeing a title match (or even a Batista-Lesnar match) would’ve been over his lame interference. Otherwise, solid work by all men involved.
Remember that time CLEVELAND was on the line in a WWE match? The ENTIRE CITY of CLEVELAND? How much bigger can the stakes possibly get? At least Ziggler got a win. And Wade Barrett’s #BNB promo was money (as always). I can dig it.
The Usos got a win. And so did Kofi Kingston. Good for them. Really.
I was worried about seeing Cody Rhodes & Goldust cash in their re-match so quickly against The New Age Outlaws. Fortunately, the announcers insinuated that they were forced to do it, and put over The Outlaw’s ties to Triple H. And the match itself? Loved it. All four of these men can go, and they can go strong. Nothing excites me like seeing Cody Rhodes mix it up with three attitude-era legends like he did last night. The finish protects everybody, especially Cody, and saves the true re-match for a bigger stage. But now I feel a little better about the tag-team division than I did on Sunday.
Speaking of feeling better… is there any better feeling in the world than seeing WWE Network advertised as housing ALL WWE, WCW, and ECW pay-per-views? And the preview for ‘The Monday Night Wars’ had me jazzed as well. It is going to be… wait for it… AWESOME.
The main event was good stuff. I can talk about how good all these guys are, but I’ve said it for weeks (months? a year) now. I’ll even give John Cena a nod for not completely overshadowing everything, and everybody else, on WWE TV. While the finish was a bit wonky (and had even die hard rule sticklers scratching their heads), the tease of a future Wyatt/Shield showdown was great. Will WWE do anything else with it? Probably not. Still, a guy can dream…
Overall show was solid. It didn’t undo all the bad from the Royal Rumble, but creative took a step forward with storytelling. And confronting the Daniel Bryan dilemma in story line makes sense – but only if WWE sees fit to give fans their payoff. A Bryan win at Chamber would be EPIC, and I could easily see a three-way between him, Orton, and Batista playing quite nicely to the New Orleans crowd. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.
How did you feel about last night’s show? Do you think Daniel Bryan has any chance of winning at Elimination Chamber? Let me hear it in the comments below! And follow me on Twitter @therealwiseman for live tweets, and lots of sarcasm, during the show every week.