We have returned to Monday Night Raw, the night after the Royal Rumble.
The Authority and Daniel Bryan promo/The Shield attack
Triple H and Stephanie come to the ring to start Raw. They talk about Sunday’s Royal Rumble, and moving forward to February’s Elimination Chamber. Stephanie announces that Randy Orton will defend the WWE World Heavyweight Championship inside the Elimination Chamber, and out comes Daniel Bryan. Bryan says he constantly asked to be in the Royal Rumble, but was always told no. Bryan demands to be in the Elimination Chamber match, and gets face-to-face with Triple H, but The Shield come to aid Triple H. After they beat down Bryan, Sheamus and John Cena come to help Bryan, and the three faces throw The Shield out of the ring.
My Take: I don’t know how many people agree with me, but I really do enjoy the work Triple H and Stephanie are doing on-screen. The way this segment was designed, it required crowd interaction, and the crowd delivered. I’m a little disappointed we saw nothing happen between The Shield. There should have been some sort of talking segment with them, something we saw before they ever came to the ring. Other than that, crowd was behind Bryan, and that’s not changing.
Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara vs. The Real Americans
Zeb Colter promo down to the ring, same stuff as always. During the match, Swagger went to the outside, where he got chastised by Zeb. Zeb accused Swagger of not listening to him, then he slapped him and Cesaro had to stop Swagger from attacking Zeb. Swagger eventually climbed back in the ring and took control of the match. Cesaro picks up the win with the Neutralizer on Sin Cara.
My Take: Other than a slight botch when Mysterio was setting Cesaro up for the 619, this was a very good match. A lot of fun. Should be very interesting to see where the Swagger/Zeb altercation leads this team.
Bad News Barrett promo
He mocks Cleveland and their native sons, Dolph Ziggler and The Miz, who will meet in a match later in the show.
My Take: This gimmick is horrifying. Please stop.
Fandango vs. R-Truth (Xavier Woods)
R-Truth gets the win with the What’s Up.
My Take: When the train comes off the tracks on commentary, it really comes off the tracks. I will give Woods credit, for trying to reference the match a little bit, but the other guys did not comply.
Randy Orton, Batista and Paul Heyman promo (Brad Maddox and Brock Lesnar also in-ring)
Brad Maddox is in the ring when Raw comes back from commercial, and he introduces Randy Orton. Orton talks about his win over John Cena last night, he says he earned it, and The Wyatt Family had nothing to do with it. He says it’s ridiculous he has to enter the Elimination Chamber because he is the Face of the WWE, he mentions Batista, and “The Animal” comes out right on cue. Batista congratulates Orton on his win from Sunday, then tells him he has nothing personal against Orton, or anybody else. He’s winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania, and he mentions every title contender, except for one, and that man, Brock Lesnar makes his way to the ring with Paul Heyman. Heyman takes the mic and tells Maddox that Lesnar’s patience is fading fast. Heyman then gives Maddox and The Authority two options, a one-on-one match between Lesnar and Orton for the championship, or make a #1 contender’s match between Lesnar and Batista.
My Take: This was a pretty cool segment. Seeing Lesnar in a Chamber match is a pretty enticing thought, but a #1 contender’s match between Batista and Lesnar could be interesting. Plus, it allows for interference from The Undertaker, or The Undertaker appearing the night after the February pay-per-view to confront Lesnar.
Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz
Ziggler picks up the win with the Zig Zag.
My Take: Another good match, which can always be expected from Ziggler. Pretty good showing from The Miz as well though. It would be nice to see Ziggler get a push after this.
The Usos vs. Rybaxel
The Usos pick up the win following a superkick and top rope splash to Ryback.
My Take: The Usos are a lot of fun. They bring so much energy to their matches, but they have proven in the past they are capable of substance. I would like to see them win the WWE Tag Team Championships at WrestleMania.
Kofi Kingston vs. Alberto Del Rio/Alberto Del Rio pre-taped promo
Alberto Del Rio mixed English and Spanish in his promise that Batista would not make it to WrestleMania XXX.
Del Rio is so good in the ring, he just can’t connect with a crowd, it’s such a shame. Kofi’s stale, so the crowd didn’t connect with this one. Del Rio gets the win with the superkick to a kneeling Kofi Kingston.
My Take: This was a very good match, the fans began to get into it at the end. Hopefully Kofi’s character change is coming soon, he deserves it. The crowd has to stop entertaining themselves with the announcer chants. It’s one thing when they want to make a statement chanting Daniel Bryan’s name, but just to take it upon themselves is nonsense.
Cody Rhodes and Goldust vs. The New Age Outlaws for the WWE Tag Team Championships
This match ended when Brock Lesnar came down and F-5’d Cody Rhodes and Goldust, causing a DQ. Paul Heyman got on the mic and said that The Authority reviewed the options Lesnar and Heyman gave them and decided to go with neither, so Lesnar needed to show what the consequences of that decision would be.
My Take: Really good match, third time this month. Second time in as many nights. I like the ending. If WWE plays this right, this ending could further as many as three storylines.
The Funkadactyls and The Bella Twins vs. AJ Lee, Tamina Snuka, Aksana and Alicia Fox
Naomi wins it with the Rear View on AJ.
My Take: This was a pretty good match. The Divas may just be improving. I don’t like seeing AJ get pinned, but if it leads to a title match for Namoi, then it makes sense.
Next WWE Hall of Fame Inductee
The next member of the Class of 2014 is….Jake “The Snake” Roberts.
My Take: This guy deserves it. He has worked hard to sober up and get back in shape, he didn’t get in the Royal Rumble, but he is in the Hall of Fame.
John Cena, Sheamus and Daniel Bryan vs. The Shield (All members of the winning team go to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber match)
Cena really took the brunt of The Shield’s punishment. Bryan gets the hot tag and the comeback. Roman Reigns speared Sheamus and Cena. Later, Reigns overpowered Cena, splitting Cena’s hands while he had the STF locked in on Reigns. The match ended when The Wyatt Family came down to attack Cena, causing a DQ. Sheamus and Bryan helped Cena dispose of The Wyatt Family. Because of the DQ, Cena, Sheamus and Bryan are going to the Elimination Chamber match.
My Take: The six-man tag matches are always good. Cena, Sheamus and Bryan belong in the Championship match. The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family has to happen before The Shield split-up, and it could be coming now. If there was a time to do a six-man tag match inside the Chamber, it would be with these two teams.
This was a really good follow-up to the Royal Rumble. As I was going through the day on Monday, I started to think about some possible new directions the WWE could go after Sunday night, some of those thoughts might be coming to fruition, but more on that coming to DailyDDT.com tomorrow. As for Raw specifically, a lot of good segments, and exciting wrestling. It does get sluggish at times, but they power through it. For all the complaints about the last few months of pay-per-views, Raw has been consistently good for a while now.