I was thinking about last night. Now the dust settled and the rage subsided, like many of us, I wondered what I was truly angry about.
Think about it this way. WWE is a parent, and the fans are children. Children ask for candy. Parents say not to have too much because it isn’t good for you. So the parents take the candy away. Daniel Bryan is the candy. So, by taking Daniel Bryan away… because he’s not good… wait… hold… damn it my whole analogy just fell apart faster than my Legos.
The point is, I don’t think it was really about Daniel Bryan, but overall, it was a pretty crappy Rumble, and the face Bryan was not in the Rumble itself was an additional disappointment which spilled over. Let’s face it, there were very few big names, very few possible WrestleMania 30 challengers. Had Bryan been in the match and still lost, the result would be the same.
In any case, RAW begins with Triple H acknowledging the immense boos which coated the end of the pay-per-view. I wondered how WWE would. It was pretty clear no one was happy. Daniel Bryan then came out and goaded the fans to chant. Bryan will be the most over man in WWE forever. I think at this point WWE knows it is Daniel Bryan who they want to see, and again, perhaps WWE is just trying to plan the proper build. Bryan wants a fight, and Triple H brings out the Shield. John Cena and Sheamus make the save.
We also find out during the segment Randy Orton will defend the WWE World Championship in the Elimination Chamber match.
Zeb Colter, who had the most awesome signs during the Royal Rumble lit a fire under Jack Swagger by slapping him around during his match, tag team with Antonio Cesaro against Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara. Cesaro dominates and earns the win for his team. Notice how a lot of teams are not getting along these days? Once again, The Real Americans deliver a solid performance, leaving everyone else to wonder when Rey will retire.
We learn tonight, Cena, Sheamus, and Bryan will face The Shield. Winning team earns their spots into the Elimination Chamber. Well, this ought to get interesting.
Wade Barrett returns and delivers some Bad News. Miz and Dolph Ziggler will have a Battle of Cleveland tonight. No, wait, that is not the bad news, it is watching a sloppy match between R-Truth and Fandango with NXT Diva Emma dancing in the crowd. R-Truth wins. Yawn.
To quote Jim Ross on Twitter, “business is about to pick up” as Brad “get me some Maalox” Maddox is booed by the fans, so he brings out Randy Orton who also gets booed by the fans, who is interrupted by Batista who ALSO gets booed by the live crowd. The boos end when a Daniel Bryan chants starts, but before Batista can flub any more of his lines, Paul Heyman brings out Brock Lesnar! Heyman cuts an insane promo, outclassing everyone else (which if you realize, is not hard to do, even a caveman could do it) and drops the ultimatum, tonight Brock will face either Orton or Batista.
Thankfully, Miz and Ziggler deliver a solid match, each one sporting some custom jerseys. Nice touch. Before the match we get a video package of their feud in 2012. Do you recall that? I don’t, but then again, I didn’t watch Superstars or Main Event or whatever the hell they call the C-rate show. In any case, solid crowd rallies behind Ziggler, who wins via Zig Zag. Both of these guys need something fresh. Not a heel turn, but just something to get them back in the good graces of WWE Creative. Even last night, the crowd went nuts when Dolph Ziggler made his entrance. Shame he lasted all of five minutes.
The Usos dispatch Ryback and Curtis Axel. Commentators make it sound like “such a big win” over a “big team like Rybaxel” which made me a bit sick. Ryback and Axel have never won the tag titles, and only Axel has held a singles championship between them. So, yeah. Usos are forever always the better team. Perhaps Usos will be next in line for the WWE Tag Team Championships? Usos vs. New Age Outlaws at WrestleMania 30? YES! YES! YES! They are such a good team, and have been for years. They have been with WWE for longer than you think. It might be time to give them the gold they deserve.
Two former champions, one World, the other a mid-card clash as Kofi Kingston and Alberto del Rio lock up. Perhaps they too felt the fire lit underneath as chants for JBL dominated the early part and either genuinely pissed or just playing along, Del Rio did not seem to happy about being ignored. The match was lame, but perhaps both Kofi and Del Rio realized they needed to kick it up, and kick it they did. The remainder of the match had some pretty intense moments, one of which I thought Del Rio detached Kofi’s head with a massive kick, or broke his back with a gorgeous German Suplex. Benoit would be proud. Del Rio fails to lock on the Cross-Armbreaker, but as the action went to the top rope, Del Rio crushed Kingston’s face with a massive stomp, followed by a kick to the head, leading to the pinfall victory.
We get some recap from last night’s Royal Rumble pre-show where The New Age Outlaws defeated the Rhodes Brothers for the WWE Tag Team Championships. Lightening struck twice as the rematch was just as awesome as the first encounter. If there was any doubt at all whether Road Dogg and Billy Gunn could still compete, tonight’s showing removed all doubt. Serious in the ring, jokers outside. Nice spot where they use JBL’s hat while regrouping. The only thing which did not repeat was having a clear winner as Brock Lesnar hits the ring and lays out both Goldust and Cody. The Outlaws make their escape. To note, nice pre-match promo from the DX duo, stating they are the champs because they are still the great competitors they once were, and has nothing to do with Triple H. True, there was no Authority help when they won the titles last night. Clean win. No teases on a breakup of the brothers, so perhaps the Rhodes Bros. are not done just yet.
Some Diva tag match. Only way to get them all on television I suppose. Bellas and Funkadactys win after some bizarre triple Suplex followed by Naomi, a very talented wrestler uses her ass as a move to win. Forget slams or ‘plexes, just use your rump to win a match. Sigh.
Awesome segment as JAKE “THE SNAKE” ROBERTS is announced as the next inductee into the 2014 Hall of Fame. I jumped. Love it.
The main event saw John Cena, Sheamus, and Daniel Bryan take on the Shield. Winning team gains entry into the Elimination Chamber match. Sheamus looks to have a little ring rust, but it didn’t negatively impact the match. He served his purpose as counter to Roman Reigns as the big bruiser for his team. Crowd popped for Bryan, even when he wasn’t in the match. Reigns got some solid cheers also. Match progressively changed to a faster pace once Bryan got a hot tag and cleaned house. Suplexes, powerbombs, throws and more galore. Chaos ensued as everyone took their turn in the ring, and ultimately Bryan snapped the Yes-Lock onto Rollins, but Ambrose broke it up. At some point Cena got a tag and tried putting Reigns in the STF, which failed. Lights then went out, back on as the Wyatt Family then goes after Cena. Bryan and Sheamus make the save as Michael Cole announces all three men are going to be in the Elimination Chamber match.
Notes: Christian promo for his 87th return, but will be on SmackDown. No CM Punk or Kane. No Damien Sandow. No Kevin Nash. No Zack Ryder. Think about that.
You know, tonight’s RAW was not bad, and for a while it did make us forget the debacle which was the 2014 Royal Rumble. Truth is, we should not forget Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt had an incredible match. Bryan aside, let’s not forget Bray Wyatt, the former Husky Harris, son of I.R.S. was the other half of the awesome equation. Wyatt is also a future main eventer, and if he can pull off matches like this with anyone, he will have a long career ahead of him. Whether the gimmick last longer than two years is anyone’s guess.
Sure, the Rumble had its flaws, but tonight we saw some good rebound and some solid build heading towards Elimination Chamber. Let’s not get too crazy like some fans did by posting their tirades on YouTube, but I will reserve judgment and see what plays out. Even Mick Foley, who was very adamant about WWE turning its back on the fans admits WWE may yet turn around and make the fans happy. The fans in Pittsburgh were left quite the opposite.