Thoughts From Raw:
We had a lot happen with Cena, Seth Rollins, and Brock Lesnar tonight, so let’s start by looking at things in chronological order…
Seth Rollins def. John Cena in a lumberjack match. Really solid, suspenseful match. Kudos to Cena for leaping off the top rope on to that assembly of wrestlers. He certainly doesn’t have to take those kind of risks, but he does anyway. I’m now of the belief that Rollins was added to the WWE Championship match at the Royal Rumble simply because he’s the hottest heel on the roster. Lesnar, as much of a bad ass as he is, has simply lost too much steam from being gone so long. WWE overplayed their hand with the “novely of seeing Brock” card. He’s simply been gone too long. This could have been helped with the proper use of Paul Heyman, but I think that ship has sailed.
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman play up the end of The Undertaker’s streak in an in-ring segment. This was good. Remind us of who Brock Lesnar is, who Brock Lesnar has become, and what Brock Lesnar can do to John Cena and Seth Rollins at the Royal Rumble. The fantasy/reality picture Heyman painted was strong. Personally, while I think Seth Rollins is now the hottest heel around, Brock Lesnar should still be the man who loses the title at Wrestlemania XXXI. He’s come too far to simply drop it in two weeks.
Rollins curb stomps both Lesnar and Cena in contract signing segment. I won’t lie, seeing these guys finally mix it up did get me hyped for the match. It’s exciting to see Brock mix it up with somebody besides John Cena for the first time in almost a year. I don’t know if the match will be a show-stealer. But it’ll certainly be one to watch.
Now let’s move on. We’ve certainly got one big piece of news to talk about…
“Macho Man” Randy Savage announced for WWE Hall of Fame class of 2015. Needless to say, this is long overdue. Whatever persona differences the real-life Randy Poffo and Vince McMahon had, they obviously kept them from doing business while Randy was still alive. It’s nice that the “Macho Man” is finally getting this well-deserved honor, but he should have been alive to see it. It’s a terrible injustice that he’s not.
Booker T. replaces Jerry Lawler at the announce desk. Lawler moved to Smackdown. Booker T. wouldn’t have been my first pick for Lawler’s job. He’s been known to butcher the English language, and say incredibly stupid things. (Case in point, his analogy about everybody dying on Gilligans Island.) I can think of a few announcers I’d much rather see in that spot, Renee Young being at the top of that list. But at least it shakes things up a bit. Meanwhile, I’m wondering what Lawler really thinks about being sent to Smackdown. Any way you slice it, it’s the B-show. But it’ll be interesting to see how Lawler does now that he’s part of a two-man announce team again.
Daniel Bryan announces his intention to win the Royal Rumble, will compete on Thursday’s Smackdown. Bringing Bryan to Smackdown is an interesting move. I suppose there’s no need for the Rumble match to be his official return. It might even get fans a little more pumped up to see him. So why not?
Roman Reigns and the Big Show are involved in the Randy Savage “Ooooooo Yeah” impersonation package. This was wrong for both of these guys. Neither of them should be funny right now. And the Big Show is in a top heel spot, so we shouldn’t be laughing at him. Hell, he came out to cut a heel promo in the very next segment! Roman Reigns should be an intimidating man of few words. Speaking of which….
The Big Show and Roman Reigns get some mic time. WWE continues to book Roman Reigns improperly, from my point of view. Having Reigns recite that be in the ring with that stupid Cena-like smile, and cut a textbook Cena-like promo, was the exact opposite of what WWE should be going for with this guy. The whole thing reeked of an out-of-touch Vince McMahon “promo class.” Why are they forcing this guy to do long, drawn out monologues? That’s clearly not his strength!
The Ascension continues to get heat for comparing themselves to Demolition and the Road Warriors. As a fan, I’m not sure what everybody got all worked up about last week when The Ascension cut that promoo on teams of the past. Does anybody think they really have beef with the Road Warriors? These guys are just trying to get themselves over. And hey, it worked didn’t it? People clearly turned on them.
Dean Ambrose takes part in “psychological evaluation.” Surprisingly, these segments were pretty painless. Though that whole “sit down to pee” line at the end, once again, reeked of McMahon humor.
Bad News Barrett is once against cast as a heel. This is a mistake. People like the whole “I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news…” thing, and just like with Cesaro, they’re going against the grain. Why? They want to cheer for Barrett. So let them cheer!
Justin Gabriel pops up on Raw as one of the heel lumberjacks. I’m fairly certain this doesn’t mean Gabriel is a heel now. More likely it’s an illustration of how thin the roster is. But hey, at least the guy got on Raw…