Last night’s show opened exactly where I feared it would: with Betty White walking out to the ring. Luckily, Big Show stepped up to be the world’s largest arm candy. And this whole charade quickly ended when The Authority came out. Thank goodness. Too bad it didn’t signal Betty White’s final appearance on the show.
It was smart of creative to have The Authority address the Daniel Bryan “face of WWE” situation. And hearing Randy Orton apologize to Triple H and Stephanie was a good idea. Unfortunately, Orton was struggling on the mic last night, and his delivery was all over the place. Daniel Bryan saved the segment by calling out Kane, and, in true heel fashion, Triple H told him to take the night off. If they are still building towards an eventual Bryan-Triple H match at ‘Mania, then I think they’re doing it at the right pace. I just wish this segment didn’t feel quite so similar to last week’s opening.
The three-on-three match featuring Rey Mysterio & The Brotherhood in a losing effort against The Wyatts was quick fun, and continued the Rhodes family dissolution. Fandango also picked up a quick win against Santino Marella. But overall, the first hour of RAW did little more than fill time. Which is a shame. Always.
Is anybody else sick of seeing Batista by this point? I’m guessing so, based off the chorus of Boos throughout his one ringside appearance. His feud with Alberto Del Rio is too one-sided to make anybody care. And when the fans actively hate BOOtista, and are indifferent to Del Rio, why should they care about an eventual matchup between them?
The Shield’s ongoing dissolution is great. Last night I really expected Roman Reigns to step-up and challenge Ambrose for the US Title. That probably would’ve been too soon since, it seems like, WWE is setting up a final breakdown between these three men at Elimination Chamber. Still, there’s money in Ambrose against Reigns – with Reigns becoming more sympathetic each week. Too bad Seth Rollins feels like a complete outsider these days.
Many hats off to Christian, Sheamus, and The Real Americans for delivering a fantastic tag match. Bar-none the most entertaining aspect of RAW. I won’t give Swagger too much credit here (since, obviously, Cesao carried the match), but these guys had great chemistry and solid booking. THIS is how you book a tag-team match.
Speaking of tag-teams… The Usos look primed to step up against The New Age Outlaws. Fantastic. I’ve been singing their praises for a little over six months now, so let’s hope they walk away with gold.
Betty White was all over WWE TV last night which… ugh, was just not funny. And if it was, credit goes to Road Dogg for understanding how to connect with his audience. Still, this whole thing was a giant miss. As is most of WWE’s cross-promotion these days.
Randy Orton and John Cena delivered a solid effort to end the show. It was better than their Royal Rumble match, and more entertaining than the crowd gave both men credit for. I take issue with Orton, the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, losing cleanly on RAW for two consecutive weeks (yes, I know he beat Christian on Smackdown, but nobody watches that… just ask Jerry “I watched Golden Girls for two hours last night!” Lawler). Orton can be booked to look weak without bringing the championship prestige down. But that’s me being nitpicky.
Overall show was worth watching, but not worth watching for three hours. A couple of fantastic matches, mixed with some not-terrible talking segments, and some logical story continuation, kept me involved. And making last night’s main-event feel like a big deal with the flashbacks, match-up cards, etc., was a good choice. That’s how you get fans to care about the wrestlers. Er, I’m sorry, the “superstars.”