WWE teased a potentially great match for Survivor Series at the end of Monday's Raw, but the match the company announced instead leaves Cody Rhodes, Goldust and The Shield without a place to funnel their animosity.
CM Punk and Daniel Bryan vs. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan is official for the upcoming pay-per-view, per WWE.com.
That's a shocking move considering the electricity the brawl that ended Monday's Raw created. The Wyatt Family and The Shield faced the tag team champs, Bryan, Punk and The Usos in a tense showdown that punctuated the end of the episode with excitement.
Survivor Series seemed to be getting one hell of a traditional elimination tag match, one that would be far more enticing than Randy Orton vs. Big Show or John Cena defending the World Heavyweight Championship against Alberto Del Rio. That six-on-six match was just a mirage, unfortunately.
Going with a standard tag team match rather than the kind that has been the cornerstone of the Survivor Series pay-per-view leaves The Shield, the Rhodes brothers and The Usos without a match, their wheels spinning.
The event is now less than two weeks away, and the time to build up a bout is dwindling.
The longer that WWE waits to give The Shield and the Rhodes boys a match, the less significant it will be. When Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins took on Rhodes and Goldust at Battleground, it was a story more than a month in the making. The story of Rhodes getting fired and his family striving to get him back on the roster made that bout moving entertainment.
Don't expect anything like that for Survivor Series. It looks more and more like those two teams are going to get far less buildup for whatever contest they are entered in.
Is WWE unsure of where to fit these teams or it is just hesitant to move on one of its options for them?
If Rhodes and Goldust are going to battle The Real Americans at the event, why not have the tension between those squads build more? Instead, those two groups took on men who they will certainly not be facing at Survivor Series in Orton and Cena.
The Real Americans lost to Cena despite their numbers advantage.
Rhodes and Goldust spent the night battling Orton, which resulted in a huge moment for the WWE title feud when Big Show chokeslammed the champ. There was no hint on where Rhodes and Goldust are headed next during the match or at any point in the show.
The Shield delivered yet another stellar performance on Raw's Main Event before throwing fists in the episode-ending melee.
The showdown that fight teased is now yanked. With The Shield's contentious history with Punk, Bryan and The Usos and the tag champs, it would have been a perfect pairing. The instability of their alliance with The Wyatt Family would have only added to the drama.
Instead, WWE veered off the path it seemed to be heading on.
The remaining options involving The Shield and the Rhodes brothers aren't nearly as appealing. Are we going to see another battle between those teams even though there has been such little focus on that rivalry?
Having Reigns and Rollins take on Rhodes and Goldust for the third straight pay-per-view would be fine if the past few weeks had been used to amplify their hostility.
Rhodes and Goldust have been busy teaming with Cena against The Real Americans and Damien Sandow. In the process, The Real Americans have looked like increasingly real threats to the tag titles.
Yet, those teams didn't interact at all on Monday's Raw or Friday's SmackDown.
The Shield, on the other hand, have remained Triple H's pawns, last week welcoming Big Show back to WWE by outnumbering and assaulting him. While that has Big Show more angry and motivated heading into Survivor Series, it leaves the black-clad trio without a story of their own.
As hot as Goldust has been, one would assume he'd be locked into a high-profile match for that event. The Shield has been excellent in match after match after debuting at last year's Survivor Series. They, along with the tag team champions, deserve to be more than afterthoughts on the card.
Tyson Kidd is in a burgeoning feud with Fandango. Sandow is lurking on the cusp of the world title picture. Orton, Big Show, Del Rio and Cena all have clear paths to Survivor Series.
Meanwhile, Rhodes, Goldust and The Shield are still searching for a road to that event.