WWE Raw: 5 Talking Points to Come from Monday Night's Show
Monday's Raw provided us with a master class this week.
Or rather, Triple H provided us with a master class this week into the art of playing the heel.
Last time on Raw, the WWE Universe was given exactly what it wanted: Daniel Bryan’s likely insertion into the main event of WrestleMania XXX.
This time around, the WWE planted the perfect seed of doubt: the announcement of a major swerve that would not only crush the dreams of Bryan and his fans, but would rub further salt in the wounds in the absolute worst way possible. And it was delivered in emphatic fashion.
The WWE gave, and the WWE may indeed hath taken away.
With this major swerve and a number of other key developments to digest, this article runs through five of the biggest talking points to emanate from this week's episode of Raw.
That swerve that I referenced earlier was of course the revelation that if Triple H defeats Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania XXX, then he will be inserted into the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match with Randy Orton and Batista.
Say what you want about The Game, but his delivery of this news was brilliant.
Batista and Orton gave weak performances with their bickering on the mic and the opening segment never really kicked off until Triple H began to lay into the two main event participants with some cutting remarks. He capped it off with an announcement that no one thought even he would have the audacity to make.
The Cerebral Assassin went on to brutally beat down Bryan at the end of the night, cuing scenes that made for rather uncomfortable viewing at times.
Bryan was entirely defenceless to the point where he couldn’t even take a bump properly, which was all the more concerning given that much of the beatdown took place outside of the ring.
It was ruthless aggression at its very finest. More importantly, it was Triple H at his very finest.
He’s a merciless heel capable of drawing incredible heat, and with Stephanie McMahon alongside him, we could be looking at one of the most dominant heel partnerships in WWE history.
Everything Triple H did on Raw this week added to the anticipation surrounding WrestleMania XXX and thus was a job very well done indeed.
Another swerve, albeit a much smaller one, came in the form of the Real Americans’ victory over the Usos.
After weeks of tension, Jack Swagger and Cesaro were well and truly back on the same page, looking strong in their non-title victory over the tag team champions.
So what does this mean for either team?
Have the Usos moved on from the New Age Outlaws, with the Real Americans now their primary adversaries? Are the Real Americans themselves going to stay together after seemingly being on the brink of meltdown in recent weeks?
Personally, I think that the split will still happen and this development is just a means of making it more dramatic. Defeat in a tag title match could be the ultimate tipping point and may even allow the breakup to happen at WrestleMania without the predictable grudge match.
Either way, it’s an interesting development and one that keeps the Real Americans relevant after their recent antics had been in danger of getting repetitive.
Having talked up Triple H at the start of this article, I’m now going to go one better and give credit to another of the company’s most divisive men: John Cena.
We witnessed Cena doing exactly what he does best on Raw this past week: upping the ante.
At first, his promo seemed to be leaning towards his typical goofy spiel, as he spoke of how he and the WWE Universe were a bit like an old married couple.
However, he soon dropped the cheesiness and adopted a more serious tone, turning his attention to Bray Wyatt. Cena spoke of his fear of Wyatt and really put his adversary over as an intimidating heel.
It hyped the rivalry perfectly and makes the contest feel all the more significant. Both combatants have been excellent on the mic so far in this feud, and with a few weeks still to go until the showcase of the immortals, we could be set to see this one escalate even further.
It’s shaping up to be a cracking showdown and Cena’s actions on Raw this week have certainly helped that.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal is a great idea, but only if it’s done in the right way.
We don’t want to see this turn out to be a jobber-fest, and events on Raw would thankfully suggest that this will not be the case. A number of participants in the Battle Royal were announced—each with world title pedigree—including Sheamus, Christian, Mark Henry and The Big Show.
Add those names to the likes of Alberto Del Rio, Dolph Ziggler and Big E and the match is suddenly looking like one of the better bouts on the card.
It’s a great way to ensure everyone is utilized, while having the feud between Sheamus and Christian continue within the confines of this match spares us from a fairly nondescript singles bout and makes the Battle Royal all the more intriguing.
Big E’s inclusion does worry me, though, as this means we could be without an Intercontinental or United States Championship match on the biggest stage of them all.
It’s not an ideal situation, but hopefully the quality of the Battle Royal itself will more than atone for the loss of said title matches.
In a similar vein to that of the Real Americans, The Shield have recently teased a breakup—only to come back stronger and more united than ever.
On Raw, we saw them working as a unit to first do Kane’s bidding before turning on the Director of Operations himself to serve up some real justice.
It’s great to see the three men working together, as they are truly one of the greatest factions of all time in my mind.
With that said, is this all just one last hurrah for the Hounds of Justice? Is it just a brief honeymoon period before the tensions resurface and the breakup plays out? Furthermore, has The Shield actually turned face now?
To be honest, I don’t even know what I think anymore.
As a fan, though, I think I’ll be happy whatever the outcome. Either we get a Triple Threat match at ‘Mania, which promises to be a fantastic clash, or we see the triumvirate remain together and deliver more of those moments of magic that we’ve come to expect.
It’s a win-win situation, and one that currently I find very difficult to predict.
We may not have seen the most stellar wrestling, but the storyline developments on Raw were enough to make the show a success on their own.
Triple H’s announcement was monumental. The possibility of The Game in another WrestleMania main event will no doubt have ruffled the feathers of many. It remains unlikely, but could it actually happen? Might we really see Triple H insert himself into the WrestleMania XXX main event?
Will The Shield and the Real Americans still be together by April 6?
Will we see more from The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar in the remaining weeks to come?
Please feel free to comment below with your thoughts on this week's Raw as well as any of the points that were outlined in the article. As always, thanks for reading.