Biggest Takeaways from Old School Raw
Monday night was Old School Raw—and it was one of the best Raw shows in a long time.
The theme never disappoints, and we were treated to some legendary appearances—as well as a couple of shocking ones, too.
Plenty of storylines for the Royal Rumble were handed serious developments this week, and we've learned plenty moving towards the first pay-per-view of 2014.
There were surprise victories, excellent promo spots and plenty of questions still to be answered.
But what were the biggest things we can take away from Old School Raw? Let's take a look.
Old School Raw Is Consistently Awesome
Old School Raw was the theme on Monday night, and once again it delivered—like it always does.
We opened up with Ric Flair—more on him later—and the likes of Too Cool, Sgt. Slaughter, Rikishi, the New Age Outlaws and Roddy Piper were on the show.
There were plenty of highlights—Piper's Pit was a pretty good segment, and Piper played his part in putting some more heat on The Shield.
Scotty 2 Hotty still looked in great shape and managed to generate some pretty good hype from the crowd during his match—and everyone loves an appearance from Farooq.
Such a shame the APA didn't reform for one more night. That would have been pretty special.
Bad News Barrett Strikes a Positive Chord
Speaking of Old School Raw, all the legends came out in the final hour of the show to receive some props from the crowd.
That looked like it was going off without a hitch—until Bad News Barrett struck to once again try and get some heat.
And, to be honest, it seemed to work this week. The gimmick is starting to move forward, and Barrett now needs to step into the ring to push forward.
WWE clearly has some sort of hope for this gimmick in the long run—and it could work. Barrett is starting to come across pretty impressively on the mic after a slow start.
All This Batista Hype Suggests One Thing
Batista's return is just two weeks away, and we were treated to more hype than usual this week on Raw. There was, of course, the usual promo to push his return, but Michael Cole took it one step further this week.
It was announced that Batista will compete in the Royal Rumble match—which comes as no great surprise to us at all. However, the fact WWE decided to push the announcement suggests one thing in my eyes.
The Animal could well be the guy who goes on to be the last man standing and replicate his feats of 2005 by winning the Royal Rumble.
Then, we had Alberto Del Rio cutting a promo on Batista before he has even returned. What that means is open for discussion.
Of course, it could be nothing more than a harmless announcement. However, the fact WWE took the time out to push something so obvious suggests Batista could be the man in 2014.
Alberto Del Rio Is Alive!
Speaking of Alberto Del Rio, he put in his first appearance on Raw for a short period on Monday night. And, after falling foul to Sin Cara for the past couple of matches the two had competed in, Del Rio returned in style on Monday.
It was a short and sweet match, but it was nice to see Del Rio get a victory under his belt. WWE should be trying to build as many Superstars up as they can with the Royal Rumble approaching—ADR is a former winner of the event, after all.
Could he have a say in the Rumble? Perhaps. But for starters, it was just nice to see the former World Heavyweight Champion step it up a notch on Raw.
The Real Americans Have to Be No. 1 Contenders
We were treated to a pretty impressive tag team match on Raw this week, as The Real Americans went at it with Cody Rhodes and Goldust.
It was hyped before the match that if Zeb Colter's men got the victory, they would have put themselves in pole position for a shot at the belts at the Royal Rumble.
Even though they came up short, I still think they are the best placed team to get the shot. The four men seem to be able to pull off a smart match whenever they step into the ring together, and it would certainly be worthy of a pay-per-view.
As well as that, Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro would make excellent champions. I hope to see the rivalry continue right through to the Royal Rumble—and maybe beyond.
Lesnar vs. Big Show Is on
Thank goodness Brock Lesnar vs. Mark Henry had the plug pulled on it. That rivalry was quickly put to bed on Raw on Monday night, as Lesnar destroyed Henry's elbow to write him out of the storyline.
How refreshing was it to see Big Show return to his demonic, monstrous character that suits him down to the ground. The way he tossed Lesnar around the ring was pretty impressive, it has to be said.
Expect the two to go at it at the Royal Rumble—and it should make for a pretty decent spectacle. They are both absolute monsters in the ring and should pull a good match out of each other.
It will certainly be better than Lesnar vs. Henry—that is for sure.
Fractions Already for Daniel Wyatt
The Daniel Bryan/Bray Wyatt storyline got its first real airing since Bryan switched to The Wyatt Family on Monday night, as Bryan, Erick Rowan and Luke Harper teamed up.
They came up short against The Usos and Rey Mysterio though, and there were already fractions within the new addition to the family and the existing members.
It's a good storyline, as it is genuinely keeping everyone guessing from one week to the next. It will be Bryan and Bray Wyatt teaming up next week on Raw—so expect to see even more developments in this fascinating story.
Will it culminate at the Royal Rumble with a swerve? Or will Bryan stick with Bray for good?
Ric Flair Gave the Title Match a Much-Needed Boost
In my preview for what we could expect from Raw this week, I suggested that the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at the Royal Rumble desperately needed some promo work inserted into it.
After all, when both competitors are absent from the flagship show—like they were on Raw last week—something is clearly wrong with the storyline.
Thankfully, we got some hype this week when Ric Flair helped to give the match a bit of a boost. The promo Randy Orton cut on Flair was enjoyable—and the match now has some momentum to build on.
Hopefully next week one—or both—competitors decide to actually step into the ring and compete.
The Main Event Gave Us Plenty Going Forward
What a stunning main event we were gifted on Raw this week. Many people knew CM Punk vs. Roman Reigns would be good—but I didn't think it could be that good.
Let's first focus on the result. Roman Reigns picking up the win signifies that he is indeed the dominant force in The Shield, and that is the path the storyline will be heading down.
The Royal Rumble will be fascinating viewing to check out just what will happen next with The Shield.
And how could we end without mentioning the surprise appearance at the end? Talk of Jake "The Snake" Roberts potentially putting in an appearance at the Royal Rumble has been ongoing for some time—but nobody was expecting him to show up on Raw.
Does it mean he's back for a Rumble spot? Perhaps. That and so much more from the main event this week makes Raw a must-see next week.