Biggest Lessons Learned from Jan. 20 Edition of Raw
The final Raw before the Royal Rumble pay-per-view was aired on Monday night, and it gave us a good idea of just how good the Rumble will be.
Of course, a large part of the show was dominated by the return of Batista, but just what impact did The Animal have on the show? And what does the card look like going into the first pay-per-view of 2014?
We had some smart matches, and some rivalries were further advanced to leave it all nicely poised for the Royal Rumble.
Let's take a look at the biggest lessons learned from the go-home edition of Raw ahead of the Rumble.
Daniel Bryan Is Still as Hot with the Crowd as Ever Before
There was a worry that putting Daniel Bryan with Bray Wyatt may have halted all the momentum he had before his temporary turn.
Even worse, people were worrying that Bryan's quick revert back to a face on Raw last week was too early for the storyline.
One thing is for certain: The crowd is still into Bryan, big time. He got a huge reception on Raw when he addressed the crowd, and an even bigger pop when he got one over on Bray Wyatt toward the end of the show.
Hopefully, Bryan pulls double duty at the Royal Rumble. He is one of the biggest stars in the company, and the Rumble match needs Daniel Bryan in it.
Show vs. Lesnar Is a Good Addition to Rumble Card
Not many people would have thought this, but Brock Lesnar's match with the Big Show at the Royal Rumble could be a shrewd addition to the card.
The two put on a solid promo on Raw this past Monday—without barely doing any talking. Paul Heyman played a clever role in the segment, and it looks nicely set up to be a pretty decent showing.
You would imagine Lesnar would come out on top, given how he has aspirations of pushing for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Regardless of that, it looks set to be a good match between two of the company's true big men.
Reigns Impresses Again, but so Does Rollins and Ambrose
Credit to The Shield, as once again it managed to impress on Raw. It was once again in six-man tag action, but this time it was against Cody Rhodes, Goldust and Big E Langston.
The match was pretty entertaining all the way through, but it was the impressive stable that came out on top once again.
Roman Reigns again showed just what he is capable of with some thunderous moves. That Superman punch on Cody Rhodes was a pretty impressive spot, as is the spear he delivers so effectively.
But Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose played their part, too. The former managed to even pick up the victory when he pinned Langston. If the trio sticks together in the Rumble match, you would imagine one of them will come close to winning.
CM Punk Got a Much-Needed Pre-Rumble Boost
It's been a tough time for CM Punk over the past few weeks; however, it almost felt like he got a bit of a timely boost on Raw this week.
He looked like he had gotten the edge on Kane when he provided a beating for the newest member of The Authority. Then, he managed to knock off Billy Gunn—while also beating down Road Dogg on several occasions.
His biggest boost came after the match, though. It was revealed he will be the No. 1 entry in the Royal Rumble, and that could play nicely into Punk's hands.
He will have more time to get over with the crowd—not that he has a particular problem in that area—and will surely put on a good showing.
Batista's Return Was a Touch Flat
With the buildup for Batista's return so hyped and pushed over the past few weeks, it all felt a bit flat on Raw this week.
The fact it was almost announced that Batista was coming out at the beginning of the show felt like a bit of a letdown—he would have surely gotten a bigger reaction had he come out unannounced.
Then he went after Alberto Del Rio after he knocked off Rey Mysterio. That's perhaps understandable—given the two had a bit of a Twitter spat—but surely they won't use The Animal to work with Del Rio in the buildup to WrestleMania?
Batista will no doubt have a bigger impact in the Royal Rumble than he did on Raw. However, it was just a little flat for my liking.
The Ending Will Play a Part in the Rumble Title Match
It was nice to see Randy Orton in action again on Raw—after all, he is the champion. You can't really have a Raw without the champion wrestling.
John Cena wasn't in action, though. He merely arrived at the end of the show to chase Orton out of the arena. Those who were watching the show on TV may have noticed Michael Cole trying to make a big deal out of who was driving the car Orton got away in.
Could that mystery driver play a part in Sunday's title match at the Royal Rumble? After all, The Authority seems to have turned its attention to CM Punk, and it certainly has lost faith in Randy Orton.
Has the champion pulled in favors from elsewhere? It leaves the title match in a pretty decent place going into the Rumble.