Tension within the Real Americans
Intercontinental champion Big E found himself in the middle of a tag team-partner squabble between Jack Swagger and Cesaro.
In a rematch from last week's broadcast, the champion took on Cesaro early in Raw's broadcast. Big E ended up outside the squared circle and blasted Swagger, much to the former world champion's dismay. Moments later, Swagger entered the ring, delivered a Swagger Bomb to his rival and cost Cesaro yet another victory.
The partners argued as Zeb Colter was forced to play mediator.
Later in the night, Big E returned to the ring to do battle with Swagger. Seconds after the bell sounded, Cesaro entered the squared circle and planted E with the Neutralizer, drawing a disqualification. This resulted in a more heated exchange between Cesaro and Swagger, which got physical with some shoving.
Again, Colter played mediator and was able to convince his wrestlers to hug. Sure, the hug was met with great resistance from both men, but they did as Colter instructed.
This was another segment that once again hints at a future split between the Superstars, which will benefit Cesaro greatly. Unfortunately, both matches came at the expense of Big E, who was more or less treated as an afterthought and a joke.
While a triple threat for the Intercontinental title at WrestleMania may not be out of the question, one has to wonder just how beneficial that would actually be for Big E, who has fallen off significantly since his brief push late in 2013.
The Bella Twins vs. Aksana and Alicia Fox
At first glance, a match between these two teams may not be anyone's idea of "good." With that said, all four ladies delivered solid performances on Monday night en route to a tag team match that was better than it had any right to be.
Brie Bella, in particular, appeared to be energized more so than usual, and her performance in the match was really solid.
Alicia and Aksana have been growing steadily as tag team performers thanks to matches on Superstars and Main Event in recent weeks.
Considering the fact that the Divas division consists of several pairings, such as Alicia and Aksana, the Bella Twins, AJ and Tamina, the Funkadactyls and Natalya and Eva Marie, one has to wonder if the division would be better off introducing tag titles to the mix since there are very few legitimate threats to AJ's Divas title at this point.
Regardless, the match was an enjoyable one for the four minutes that it lasted.
Daniel Bryan vs. Batista
The main event of Raw was good, and it was easily Batista's best match since returning. Considering that Bryan was involved, it should be no surprise.
The Animal's considerable ring rust, however, really prevented the match from reaching the level of quality it could have had the company held off on the match until a later point in time.
The lack of a definitive finish was no surprise, as neither can really afford a loss at this point. WWE World Heavyweight champion Randy Orton drew the disqualification win for Daniel Bryan, but an RKO attempt on Batista led to a running knee from Bryan, ending the Viper's night.
Leaving Bryan to take a Pedigree from Triple H to close out the show, in front of a crowd in Chicago that clearly wanted nothing to do with seeing the Authority stand tall, was a bold move from the creative team.
It is also a move that deserves to be applauded.
Sure, there were likely thousands of fans that left Allstate Arena disappointed, but at the same time, the creative team is in the business of telling stories that will ultimately culminate at WrestleMania. Rather than give into the audience, the WWE writers told the next logical chapter in their story, and it worked.
All of the lows that Bryan has experienced since last August will eventually be proven to be worth it when he defeats Triple H at 'Mania and goes on to win the WWE title sometime soon after.