This episode of Raw will be crowded, as the WWE will be starting to show new signs of creative direction. CM Punk left which changed a lot of things. The crowd reaction to Batista and Daniel Bryan finally got through to them, and now is when we will begin to see how that shapes the new Road to WrestleMania XXX.
Randy Orton promo
As Orton came to the ring, the announce team hyped up how upset Orton was with the Elimination Chamber main event. Orton took the mic to discuss that match. He said he earned his title, and doesn’t understand how many times he has to beat guys like John Cena and Daniel Bryan. He said he is a dominant title holder, he’ll beat those five guys in the Chamber, and he’ll beat Batista at WrestleMania. He repeated the line he has been using a lot recently, he is the “greatest Superstar of this generation, or any other.” The Authority came out and told him to stop being paranoid. Stephanie and Triple H then teased losing faith in Orton and deciding to back somebody else. Stephanie announced that Orton would take on Bryan later in the night, and if Bryan can pick up the win, they would reconsider Bryan as the new “Face of the WWE”. Triple H then led the crowd in the “YES!” chant.
My Take: Orton cuts a good heel promo here. Very good work from him recently. As for The Authority, they managed to play a face role towards Orton, while still playing heel to the crowd, that may be more due to backstage stuff than their on-camera work, but they have been doing very well recently. At the end, they seemed to be backing Bryan a little bit, it could all be part of a master swerve to take place later tonight. This was the shortest opening segment in a while, but it stayed on par with how entertaining the opening segments have been in recent months. Very well done.
The Shield vs. Rey Mysterio, Kofi Kingston and Big E Langston/The Wyatt Family promo
After the match broke down at the end, Reigns hit the superman punch on Big E. He was about to hit the spear, but Ambrose tagged himself in to finish Big E off. After the match, Ambrose and Reigns had words with each other, but Rollins kept them apart.
The Wyatts then appeared on screen. Bray told The Shield he’s seen the cracks in The Shield all along, and he will laugh as he watches them fall. Luke Harper then told them that Bray has always been in control. Erick Rowan then spoke for the first time, simply telling The Shield to “run”.
My Take: The Shield have made a habit of good six-man matches, this was no exception.
The Wyatts’ promo was good. I’m not a fan of Harper and Rowan speaking, I think it’s bad for the characters, but they did a good job of executing here.
Bad News Barrett and Jerry Lawler promo
Bad News Barrett said the Super Bowl was the most watched TV event in United States history, but, believe it or not, he had some bad news. He then talked about all the junk food that was consumed and said most of the people who watched last night’s game wouldn’t survive until next year’s event. Lawler got on the mic from the announce table and said hopefully Barrett wouldn’t still be around by next week’s Raw.
My Take: This really didn’t make much sense. Neither one of them said anything of substance.
Christian vs. Jack Swagger
Christian gets the win with a diving turn around sunset flip off the middle rope, which is as awesome as it sounds. Zeb came in the ring after the match, but nothing happened between him and Swagger.
My Take: Good match from these two. Not sure why it happened though, considering nothing happened between Swagger, Antonio Cesaro and Zeb.
The New Age Outlaws vs. Cody Rhodes and Goldust (WWE Tag Team Championship Steel Cage match)
This match can not be won by escaping the cage. At the end, Cody did a moonsault off the top of the cage on Road Dogg, but Billy Gunn hit the Fameasser for the win.
My Take: The Outlaws victory makes sense, it’s all part of the Rhodes brothers’ journey to WrestleMania. Sidenote: Cody’s moonsault will go down as one of the greatest moments in Raw history, that was awesome.
Titus O’Neil vs. Zack Ryder
During the match, The Miz came down in a suit and got on commentary. He was upset that Ryder was on TV, and he’s not. Titus picks up the victory with the Clash of the Titus.
My Take: Pretty good match for how short it was. Miz was interesting, I’d love to see Ryder get a legit feud, but that’s highly unlikely. Something may be in Miz’s future.
Santino Marella promo/Emma vs. Summer Raw (Dance-off)
Santino returned and said he is a fantastic dancer, and that Fandango should back out of their scheduled dance-off. He suggested that Summer Rae take on a member of the audience, he chose NXT Diva Emma.
Summer Rae went first, with her usual moves. Then Emma did her signature dance, and the crowd chose Emma as the winner.
My Take: By the time Emma has her first match, the crowd should be Emma-ing in the same fashion they are Fandango-ing when he comes out. WWE just has to be patient, because it will happen.
Sheamus vs. Curtis Axel
Sheamus picked up the victory with the Brogue Kick.
My Take: This went longer than I thought it would. Axel got a lot of offense in against a returning star like Sheamus.
Batista and Alberto Del Rio promo
Batista came out for a promo, but before he could say anything, Del Rio came out. Del Rio started to call out Batista. Batista told Del Rio he had no problem with him and didn’t get what Del Rio’s problem was. Del Rio said that he’s been here earning his spot and Batista hasn’t. Batista started to tell him again that he has no problem with him, but Del Rio hit him with a cheap shot. Batista recovered and almost hit the Batista Bomb, but Del Rio escaped.
My Take: Good segment, it all feels similar to the Rock-Cena feud, but it’s certainly different with Del Rio being a heel, after Rock-Cena was face-face. These two may meet at Elimination Chamber.
Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth and Xavier Woods vs. The Wyatt Family/The Shield promo
Bray gets the pin after tagging in to hit Sister Abigail on Ziggler.
Ambrose mocked Wyatt’s creepy aura. Rollins called Wyatt delusional, and his grandest delusion is that his “family” can hang with The Shield. Reigns said the Wyatts were in their yard and that “play time is over”.
My Take: Another good six-man, but like The Shield match earlier, the outcome was never in doubt.
These promos are what truly got The Shield over, and this was one of their best.
Alexander Rusev vignette/Naomi vs. Aksana
“Rusev hits. Rusev crush.”
Namoi gets the win with a split-legged top rope moonsault. After the match, Alicia Fox attacked Naomi, but Cameron made the save and helped Namoi hit the Rear-View.
My Take: I’m not too excited for Rusev, but the vignettes are perfect for the character.
AJ Lee on commentary was amazing as usual. Pretty good match from the Divas. They’re definitely getting better, they’re not quite there yet, but they’re getting better.
Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan/Kane and Randy Orton post-match attack on Daniel Bryan
During the match, Bryan threw Orton over the announce table and took Michael Cole out of commission for a few seconds, but he got back on commentary quickly. At the end of the match, Corporate Kane came out and Bryan dropkicked him off the apron, then he pulled down the top rope and Orton went to the outside. Bryan then hit a suicide dive. He threw Orton back in the ring and hit a drop-toe hold on Kane into the steps. Orton tried to hit a surprise RKO when Bryan got back in the ring, but Bryan reversed it and hit the running knee for the pin.
After the match, Orton and Kane attacked Bryan, with Kane hitting a chokeslam and setting off his turnbuckle flames as Raw ended.
My Take: Bryan getting the win over Orton is huge. I’d be shocked if any of the other Chamber participants beat Orton in their singles opportunity before the pay-per-view.
As for the attack, I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it. It would have been nice to see Bryan stand tall, but Kane attacked him because The Authority can’t keep him down. At least, that’s the storyline explanation.
This was a very good show. One of the best episodes of Raw in a while. It didn’t have a ton of great segments, but it made a lot of sense and it’s a good start on the renewed Road of WrestleMania.