So Edge & Christian were back this week, and ultimately played into things much more than we anticipated…
Thoughts From Raw:
Seth Rollins threatens to break Edge’s neck, forces John Cena into bringing back The Authority. This was a nice little twist, and from a heel standpoint, it made Seth Rollins look like a million bucks. My only real complaint is that it made Edge & Christian look like frail old men. But that’s nitpicking, considering Edge’s legitimate neck injury.
So after being gone for just over a month, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon are back in control of Raw. That’s tough to complain about, considering they obviously need to build to a Triple H/Sting match for Wrestlemania. We knew they were coming back. Still, I can’t say I’m thrilled about the return of the heel authority figure dynamic. Not to mention 20-minute promo segments.
What’s interesting about this move is that it’s so dastardly, it positions Seth Rollins as the company’s top heel. Theoretically, that role should belong to Brock Lesnar. Going into the Royal Rumble, I’d like us to get some more time with Paul Heyman. We need to hear more about “The Conqueror,” and continue to hype he and Rollins simultaneously.
Roman Reigns def. Seth Rollins via disqualification after interference by The Big Show. I liked this match a lot. Rollins and Reigns obviously have a lot of chemistry, and they told a nice story in there. And I’ve got to give The Big Show credit too. You rarely get a wrestler out there who does a guest commentary spot, and actually adds a lot to the presentation. But Show did that tonight. He talked about the match, and was a great heel announcer. I wouldn’t mind seeing Show at the announce position more as time goes on.
While Reigns did a nice job out there this week, I’m not at all convinced he’s the guy they want to go with at Wrestlemania. Simply put, he’s not ready. Give the guy another year. Let him headline Wrestlemania in 2016. I won’t deny Reigns’ athleticism, or his potential to become a big star. But the way they’re fast-tracking Reigns, the fans are going to turn on him. Just watch.
And on the subject of the guy to go with at Wrestlemania XXXI...
Daniel Bryan announces his entrance into the 2015 Royal Rumble Match. Daniel Bryan’s presence during Wrestlemania season could change everything. If the fans are as into Bryan this year as they were last year, we could see another Rumble match hijacking. We were supposed to get Bryan vs. Lesnar at Summerslam. Could we now get Bryan vs. Lesnar at Wrestlemania?
After months of speculation, WWE confirms Christian is indeed retired. Definitely a downer to hear the real-life Jay Reso is done in the ring. Make no mistake about it, Christian was having awesome matches until the very end of his run. As far as WWE is concerned, he’s probably one of the most underrated guys WWE has ever had in terms of potential main event status. But one might also call Christian a tremendous overachiever. Who’d have thought a man of Christian’s build would win two Heavyweight Championships in a company owned by the giant-obsessed Vince McMahon. Well done, Mr. Reso. Well done.
WWE Network highlights Edge & Christian’s rivalry with The Hardy Boyz. Nice tie-in by WWE, using their library to supplement Edge & Christian’s presence on Raw. It’s curious to me, however, that they’d choose to play up the Hardys as well. Jeff is currently one of TNA’s marquee talents. I suppose that in itself is a statement on how WWE sees TNA in terms of competition…
Bray Wyatt/Dean Ambrose Ambulance Match announced for next week’s Raw. In light of this announcement, I’m glad that we didn’t see Ambrose on TV this week, and that we saw very little of Bray. It let the announcement breathe. Hopefully these two will get a nice blow-off next week. It seems like WWE has just been throwing them together for the sake of easy main events.
In an in-ring segment, Ryback talks about his journey to WWE. The real-life Ryan Reeves talked about most of this stuff several days ago Talk is Jericho last week. And while it’s undeniable that Ryback can be pretty dangerous in the ring, you’ve got to admire his determination and his positivity. WWE doesn’t do a lot of segments like this., where we actually get a reason to care about some of these characters. Hopefully “The Big Guy” gets some mileage out of it.
The Usos def. The Miz & Damien Sandow for the WWE Tag Team Titles. Well, this pretty much cements it, doesn’t it? It’s The Miz vs. Damien Sandow at Wrestlemania. Or at least, Miz vs. Sandow in the near future. Good for them. These guys deserve it for being so entertaining.
Cesaro vents a bit before losing to the returning Bad News Barrett. Cesaro seemed to be doing a bit of a “worked shoot” when he talked about not connecting with the audience. Oddly enough, it was those same “WWE decision makers” who screwed up the guy’s push by forcing him into a heel turn after Wrestlemania. The fans still want to cheer for Cesaro. All WWE needs to do is cast him in that babyface role, and see how he does. On the plus side, it’s great to see Bad News Barrett back in the ring. Hopefully 2015 will see him regain his momentum.
Luke Harper def. Jack Swagger. The Luke Harper character still seems an offshoot of the Bray Wyatt character, both in terms of his promos and his in-ring demeanor. Need proof? Look at the crowd during his entrance. They’re doing the same cell phone thing they do when Bray comes to the ring. WWE clearly jumped the gun when the put the Intercontinental Title on this guy, because we still have no idea who he is, outside of the fact he used to be in The Wyatt Family.