Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Bell to Bell: Seth Rollins Out-Heels Brock Lesnar. Also: Hi Sting!

Last week, I mentioned that Seth Rollins was likely added to the title match at the Royal Rumble because WWE couldn’t pull off another big money Lesnar vs. Cena match. To WWE’s credit, Rollins has helped make this a must-see match, one that’s almost as hotly anticipated as the Rumble match (at least in my mind). But it’s also exposed a big flaw on the creative side of things: Brock Lesnar isn’t a true heel. At least not anymore.

Jim Ross has talked about this sort of thing on The Ross Report numerous times, but let’s go through some of it again. Seth Rollins cheats to win, is cowardly at times, and has The Authority break the rules for him. Brock Lesnar is simply a tough guy who brutalizes his opponents. In the world of wrestling, that’s an endearing quality. He’s also been known to beat up John Cena a lot, which tends to make him even more endearing.

The one thing that Brock Lesnar had going for him that really made him a bad guy was that he ended The Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania. But even then, he won cleanly.

When Brock came out at the top of the show this week, I was ready to boo him. But again, he was just a tough guy looking for a fight. Again, not a bad thing. And at the end of this show, he beat everybody up! Again, not a bad thing!

While this match is very interesting, Seth Rollins has monopolized the heat. Brock is essentially just the guy who happens to have the belt. If the plan is still to have Brock go into Wrestlemania as WWE Champion, that’s not a good thing, and the match at the Royal Rumble needs to heat Brock up again big time.

John Cena def. Seth Rollins, The Big Show & Kane, with help from Sting. Handicap match main events are lame, but Sting’s first Raw appearance obviously put a hell of an exclamation point on this one. I’m liking that Sting hasn’t said anything yet. His mere presence is enough to send the bad guys into a frenzy. And when he shows up, justice is done. Great Raw debut for “The Vigilante.”

And of course, because Cena won, Dolph Ziggler, Ryback, and Erick Rowan can come back to TV now, which we knew they would.

WWE allows fans to vote on whether Cena should be allowed to compete for the jobs of Dolph Ziggler, Ryback and Erick Rowan. I never understand why they do this. WWE creates the illusion of fan participation by giving fans a “choice,” when there’s an obvious choice. So why even bother doing the poll? To get traffic for the app, I guess. But wouldn’t it be more interesting if they actually gave fans the opportunity to change the show? I’d certainly be more inclined to participate if I didn’t already know the outcome…

The Ascension are brutalized by tag teams of the past. I can’t even tell you how amazing it is to see Scott Hall on Raw, looking the way he does. There were years when I didn’t know how long this guy was going to be alive, much less as healthy as he is now.

I’m happy to see The Ascension are facing the New Age Outlaws at the Royal Rumble, and that this segment didn’t kill them off. They’ve got some great heat going, and it’d be a shame to squash them.

Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, and Ric Flair do another “Legends Panel.” This one worked better than the last one, most likely because they had more elements to talk about, and could draw on their own experience. Curiously though, when they were asked about their picks for the Rumble match, no one picked Roman Reigns…of course, then the segment ended with him. The upside? At least he didn’t talk this week.

Bray Wyatt def. Daniel Bryan WWE certainly wasted no time putting Daniel Bryan to work, which I can’t complain about. We spent most of 2014 missing him. So seeing him genuinely feels like a treat. I was really surprised to see him lose so soon after his return. I suppose WWE really is trying to make Bray Wyatt look as strong as possible. Maybe those Undertaker/Wrestlemania rumors are true. Thankfully, Bryan looks awesome in the ring as always. He sold his surgically repaired neck well. And hot damn, that frankensteiner!

Dean Ambrose def. Bad News Barrett. Hey! Ambrose won a match! Though it may not matter anyway, as Ambrose is living proof of the adage that you can win and lose at the same time in pro wrestling. Ambrose has spent much of the last several months jobbing to Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt, and yet the crowd was still really into him this week. Will Ambrose win the Rumble? Probably not. But it’d make for some damn interesting TV heading into Wrestlemania, that’s for sure.

The New Day def. Cesaro & Tyson Kidd. This match was much better than The New Day’s hokey entrance might have led you to believe. The loss notwithstanding, you can definitely tell Cesasro and Kidd have been brainstorming together. I love the little charismatic moments Kidd injected into the match, i.e. checking his “watch” during Cesaro’s hanging vertical suplex. 

Written by: Rob Siebert

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