Not a bad Raw at all as we head into Fastlane this weekend. I’ve got far more compliments than complaints…
John Cena beats down Rusev, promises “reckless abandon” at Fast Lane. One thing I’m enjoying about this Cena/Rusev program is the renewed emphasis being placed on the United States Championship. The idea that the company’s franchise player is gunning for it obviously plays up the belt’s prestige. The announcers mentioning Dean Ambrose’s lengthy run with the title didn’t hurt either.
In terms of the more “edgy” John Cena we were promised for Fastlane, I wouldn’t’ count on seeing anything profound. Brock Lesnar immasculated and humiliated Cena at Summerslam, and then at Night of Champions he was basically the same guy. So I don’t buy it at all.
Daniel Bryan joins the announcers during Roman Reigns’ match with Kane. Byran had the line of the night with: “I had one less title defense than Brock Lesnar, so I don’t think they needed to strip it from me.” We definitely saw a less humble side of Bryan here. What’s more, he knew how to advance himself and his storyline with the opportunity he was given. It was pretty cool to hear.
Incidentally, we had a pretty cool back-and-forth chant during this match. The men in the crowd were chanting “You can’t wrestle!” To which the kids, and perhaps the women, responded: “Yes he can!” That’s a new one, isn’t it?
Conversely, Reigns plays mind games during Daniel Bryan’s match with The Big Show. The interesting thing about Roman Reigns’ role in this match was that he got to show off his personality a little bit. He’s got a cockiness about him that can actually be endearing when you don’t overscript him. Bryan also played his jealous role very well, while at the same time turning in a pretty good match with The Big show.
Triple H talks Sting with Ric Flair. Flair was obviously brought in to play up his history with Sting. They did a well enough job, though it seemed like Hunter had to reign Ric in a little bit. Oddly enough, it was similar to what Stephanie had to do with Dusty Rhodes awhile back. It seems like Hunter and Steph love to stay on script, while the old school guys like to ad lib. It’s not surprising when you think about it.
What’s curious about the build up to Sting’s encounter with Triple H is that WWE isn’t using the WCW library to their advantage. They could have used a bunch of clips of Sting taking on Flair, Hogan, and a litany of other stars to build up to Ric’s appearance in that segment with Triple H. It just seemed like a waste of a perfectly good resource.
Dolph Ziggler def. Seth Rollins via disqualification. Was curious to see how the fans would react to Rollins after his little nude photo scandal last week, involving NXT wrestler Zahra Schreiber. Thankfully for Rollins, it seemed like most of the crowd was oblivious to the whole thing. Though Ziggler came a little close to it with the whole “bad Valentine’s Day” joke.
Great mic work from both guys leading up to the bout, and of course a really good little match. These are two guys I could watch wrestle every week. Here’s hoping these two get added to the Fastlane card. They haven’t got anything else for either guy to do, right?
Bray Wyatt cuts three short promos, the final one while hammering a nail into a coffin. I enjoyed these quite a bit, because it was the only time we saw Bray during the show. Two lines that stuck out….
1. “Limbo is no place for a soul like yours.”
2. “Find me… (back to the camera)…or I’ll find you.”
Stardust turns on Goldust after a loss to The New Day. Hey, I’d be pissed if I lost to The New Day too. But this Stardust/Goldust feud is long overdue. The anticipation leading up to Cody’s turn was great, and his rant to his father Dusty Rhodes backstage was awesome. Perhaps I’m a bit partial, but I say this was great work by all parties. I can’t wait to see how this unfolds heading into Wrestlemania. These guys deserve it.
The Bella Twins try to prevent Paige from competing by stealing her clothes. She wrestles in an outfit from one of the Rosebuds. I haven’t talked much about the Nikki Bella/Paige program, mostly because I can’t stand watching seeing the Bellas on my TV. But I do like that WWE is pushing Paige as the top hero of the divas division. She’s obviously got a different look than most of the supermodel types WWE has hired in the last decade or so. And this week’s story helped make her into a positive role model to the company’s young female audience. I wish she weren’t working with the Bellas, but I’m happy to see her succeeding regardless.
The Prime Time Players reunite to fend of The Ascension. FINALLY! Breaking Titus O’Neil and Darren Young up was a mistake to begin with. Granted, they’ve probably been reunited just to job to The Ascension. But still, it’s great to have them back.
The Usos to defend against Cesaro & Tyson Kidd at Fastlane. Cesaro & Kidd as the tag champs? HA! Not around Wrestlemania season, folks.
Written by: The Fanboy Wonder, Rob Siebert