– Roman Reigns made his way to the ring to a pretty good response. It wasn’t all positive, but it wasn’t all negative, either. Regardless…it was a response and THAT is the most important thing. He delivered a pretty decent promo, basically saying that he’d go through Daniel Bryan or anybody else to get his main event match at WrestleMania. This, of course, brought out Bryan…who told Reigns that he would beat him at FastLane.
– The Authority came out so Triple H could call out Sting (??) and then set-up a tag team match between Reigns/Bryan and Kane/Big Slow.
Thankfully the Twitter reaction to the “excitement” of the match-up was appropriate…
– What was even stranger was that during the initial few minutes of RAW, the Seth Rollins Instagram account posted a photo of Zahra Schreiber…naked. Schreiber is an NXT diva in training who has not yet debuted on television. The Instagram post linked to Twitter and…you guessed it…over 700,000 of Seth’s followers then saw a WHOLE LOTTA ZAHRA!! The tweet was immediately deleted, but the damage was already done. Somebody’s got some splainin’ to do!!
(I’ve censored the “naughty bit” but you get the idea…)
– Anyway…the match was a snoozefest. Nothing against Bryan or Reigns here, but The Authority needs to find newer superstars. Kane and Show are at the end of their careers and their plodding through matches is sad to watch. The end came when Kane threw Bryan into the timekeeper’s area…which I found a little odd.
– After a bit of dissension between Reigns and Bryan, Triple H said later tonight we’d see them team up a second time to take on Kane, Big Show, J&J Security, and Seth Rollins in a 5-on-2 handicap match.
– After the commercial, Seth Rollins was set to take on Ryback. Is it just me, or is the crowd reaction not nearly what it used to be when he initially returned? I can tell you why right off the bat: he’s an asshole. I mean, he refers to himself in the third person as “The Big Guy” and he acts like the same heel that was being beaten by everybody last year. People have a hard time cheering him. They like the whole “Feed Me More” chant, but that’s about it. The match ended in a DQ, so you didn’t really miss anything unless you are clamoring for a Rollins/Ryback rematch down the road.
– My muse, Paige, was set to take on Brie Bella next. Brie was accompanied by my #25 Hottest Wrestling Female of All Time, Nikki Bella. After some attempted interference by Nikki that backfired, Paige caught Brie with the “Paige Turner” and scored the pinfall victory.
– The honorable U.S. champion, Rusev, made his way to the ring with the “Ravishing Russian”, Lana. They delivered a pretty good promo saying how John Cena isn’t the man he used to be. They both have really good timing and improve skills when it comes to interacting with the audience.
– Not only has Rusev improved in the ring over the past year, but his promo skills have improved, as well. It was a good way to build-up cheap heat and, thus, brought out Cena to a decent pop. He delivered the same old promo that he always delivers. Blah blah blah never give up blah blah blah respect me blah blah blah. He stood at the top of the ramp and tried to call out Rusev’s punk card. Rusev didn’t blink and went after Cena, which was a weird role reversal as the heel isn’t supposed to chase after the babyface, is he? Anyway…Rusev beat down Cena and left him laying. I popped.
– Next up was a rematch from last week of Bray Wyatt going up against Dolph Ziggler. This looked like a really good match, but I was a little distracted while it was going on. Remember earlier when Seth Rollins accidentally posted a nude pic of NXT diva Zahara Schreiber? Well…Rollins’ fiancee, Leighla Schultz, apparently saw that and decided to tweet out nude photos of Rollins as “payback”…
(Again…the “naughty bit” has been censored because ain’t none of us got time for that)
UMMMMM….WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON???
– Oh…and Bray Wyatt pinned Dolph Ziggler clean for the second week in a row. From what I’ve read online, they’re building Wyatt up so he can be a viable option to face Undertaker at WrestleMania. If that’s the case, I think it’s not a horrible idea. I just don’t know if the luster is gone from the Undertaker shine. Will the match mean anything? Are fans willing to forget that the streak is over?
– Paul Heyman and your WWE world heavyweight champion, Brock Lesnar, came to the ring to deliver yet another money promo about the possibility of facing either Roman Reigns or Daniel Bryan.
– The New Day came out to DEAFENING SILENCE, even though they did their best to hype the crowd. It was embarrassing to watch. They faced the Dust brothers. Stardust walked out after about a minute of action and the distraction caused Goldust to get pinned. I guess the split is official, but I’m worried that they’re going to rush the match for FastLane instead of letting it build-up to WrestleMania.
– Triple H stood in the ring and called out Sting. He wanted an answer to whether or not Sting would confront him at FastLane. A pretty cool video package was his answer and confirmed the “face-to-face in-ring confrontation”. A little silly? Sure…but it sets up the WrestleMania match and I’m all for a slow-build.
– The Usos took on Cesaro & Tyson Kidd in a non-title match. Both Natalya and Naomi were outside accompanying their respective husbands. I know I can’t be the only one wanting Natalya to turn heel and start helping Kidd & Cesaro win their tag matches. And when will Kidd & Cesaro start wearing matching outfits and get a nickname? Anyway, this turned into a pretty good tag match…as expected. It showcased the make-shift team, who won by pinfall, as a force to be reckoned with and a future top challenger to the tag team titles.
– The official announcement was made for Rikishi going into the WWE Hall of Fame.
– In a storyline follow-up from last week, Damien Mizdow took on Sin Cara. The crowd was solidly behind Mizdow. As part of the “assistant” gimmick, The Miz interrupted the match and made Mizdow get him a bottle of water. Miz had a live mic and did his best to get some cheap heat. Just as Mizdow was going to slap on the Figure Four Leglock, Miz stopped him and told him to get his own moves. Sin Cara used the distraction to roll up Mizdow for the pin…leading to an argument between the two “Miz-men”.
– Bray Wyatt delivered a pretty awesome promo. Without naming names, it seems pretty clear that he’s trying to call somebody out…
– Curtis Axel was out to whine about not losing the Royal Rumble. Of course…he never actually made it into the ring so he didn’t even technically become a participant, did he? Anyway…he wants the “AxelMania” movement to continue. Yeah…cause that’ll happen.
– I think that’s a very probable theory. Regardless…Dean Ambrose disposed of Axel in a couple of minutes. He then got on the mic and called out Intercontinental champion Bad News Barrett. Barrett did a backstage promo on behalf of “BNZ” (ugh) and said that he wouldn’t give a title match to Ambrose. If it doesn’t happen at FastLane, it’ll make a nice crowd-pleasing opportunity at WrestleMania.
– Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan were up next against The Authority. The five-on-two advantage took Reigns out of the match from the get-go, so the heels could all gang-up on Bryan. In fact, Reigns was about to help the babyfaces make a comeback when he was double-teamed by Kane and Big Show, resulting in a knockout punch to the face.
Unfortunately, the team of Rusev, Dolph Ziggler, and Erick Rowan came to the rescue. I say “unfortunately” because Ziggler has been pinned two weeks in a row by Wyatt and nobody cares about Ryback or Rowan. Anyway…the ref didn’t disqualify the babyfaces even though Kane, Rollins, and Show were distracted by fighting. That left Daniel Bryan inside the ring with J&J Security.
Just as Bryan was about to win, Reigns tagged himself in to spear somebody and win the match. Bryan didn’t like this and started picking a fight with Reigns, who speared Bryan to end the evening. And what’s more, the crowd wasn’t decisively pro-Bryan or anti-Reigns…so I don’t know if it’s the crowd in Ohio or if something bigger was going on.
All-in-all, this wasn’t a terrible episode of RAW by any stretch. There weren’t any spectacular matches, but there were several ‘good-to-very-good’ matches…and I think that’s okay for a 3-hour program. You can’t blow your load every Monday night just to pop a rating. Storylines progressed and, with a PPV only two weeks away and WrestleMania season upon us, that’s the most important thing.