WWE Raw: 5 Talking Points to Come from This Week's Show
For the WWE, few nights are as important as the Monday before WrestleMania.
Playing host to the go-home episode of Monday Night Raw, it’s the company’s last big hurrah ahead of the Showcase of the Immortals. And furthermore, the go-home show’s events can often inform us of what’s to come at WrestleMania, given the booking formulae of years gone by.
He who enters the pay-per-view with momentum, often meets his comeuppance and falls short come the big dance.
So can we expect similar patterns to be played out this time around?
Perhaps, but either way, with all of the PPV’s headlining stars in attendance for Raw—including the Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, Triple H and Daniel Bryan—the sparks were bound to fly.
Big E Loses to Del Rio
The WWE continued to neglect any singles title not on the shoulder of Randy Orton, as Intercontinental champion Big E tasted defeat at the hands of Alberto Del Rio.
The result is not necessarily the issue here; the two men could have built a decent feud off the back of Big E’s loss. But with both men competing in the ‘Mania Battle Royal, that would now appear nigh on impossible.
Thus, the issue is that the IC belt is being used to build a match that the championship itself is not even being defended in. I appreciate that said match is in memory of the great Andre the Giant, but surely there were other ways to build that bout without sacrificing a possible championship match?
The Intercontinental Championship has a fantastic history at WrestleMania: Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage, Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon—it was even on a level pegging with the WWE title at WrestleMania VI!
With this in mind, it’s a shame to see the title being denied any recognition, as was the case on Monday Night Raw.
8-Man Tag Match
Raw gave us a glimpse of what to expect in the WrestleMania pre-show Tag title match, as all eight participants featured in a four-on-four contest.
The action in the ring was highly entertaining, with the sheer volume of combatants providing us with non-stop action of the fastest pace.
Ultimately, though, it was Los Matadores who picked up the win for themselves and The Usos. But it’s hard to predict a favorite off the back of this, though, as obviously, only one team can emerge victorious come Sunday night.
On paper, I’d say the Real Americans were the strongest team—but as we’ve seen before, Jack Swagger and Cesaro aren’t always reading from the same script.
And furthermore, surely the WWE wouldn’t end The Usos' reign as champions so soon?
With such uncertainty lingering, I’d say Monday Night Raw did a pretty good job of building this one.
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt
The build for this duo’s feud has been excellent so far, and that trend continued on Monday Night Raw this week.
First, Bray Wyatt delivered another excellent promo, before John Cena went on to gain retribution for last week’s attack. After Bray’s comprehensive victory over R-Truth, Cena sneaked into the ring wearing the creepy lamb mask and ambushed the entire Wyatt Family.
It was another novel idea in a feud that has been teeming with originality, thus making it one of the most eagerly anticipated matches on the WrestleMania card.
Cena then delivered a promo of his own, which contained all of the intensity and vigour that we’ve come to expect from him when the going gets tough. His emphatic closing line was the perfect sign-off and one that brought back memories of a more ruthless and aggressive time.
It all made for a great send-off—the kind of which that this feud deserves. Kudos to the WWE and all involved.
Use of Daniel Bryan
When Stephanie McMahon announced that Daniel Bryan was not on Raw, I’m not sure there were too many viewers who actually believed her.
In the end, Bryan was used to perfection. With minutes of the show remaining, he emerged from the crowd to beat down Triple H before laying out Batista and standing tall as his possible WrestleMania opponents fled.
It was the perfect response from the leader of the Yes! Movement—but was it evidence of the WWE setting him up to fail this Sunday?
Personally, I doubt it, as I can’t see the WWE squandering this opportunity to cash in on Bryan’s overwhelming popularity. Either way, though, this closing segment was everything that the final moments of a go-home show should be.
Between this and the Cena-Wyatt feud, the WWE did some fantastic work on Monday Night Raw to promote two of its biggest rivalries heading into WrestleMania XXX.
But What About the Rest?
That being said, some of the other feuds left a little to be desired.
Sure, we saw Brock Lesnar nail the Undertaker with an F-5, thus bringing an end to the Beast’s previously weak booking. But he still didn’t look as dominant as we know him to be, and I don’t think this segment lived up to the contract signing of a few weeks ago. It all makes me feel that the WWE may not have made the most of this colossal showdown.
And similarly, we didn’t see too much of a climax regarding The Shield’s feud with Kane. The trio have dominated TV in recent weeks, with a possible breakup threatened on more than one occasion. However, I don’t think that what we saw this week was any better than what we got from The Shield last week—and thus, I think the WWE may have dropped the ball somewhat with this one as well.
Perhaps I’m being a little too picky, but I had been hoping for more than what we got from these two feuds. Luckily, though, the company made up for this with its use of Cena, Wyatt, Bryan and company.
So for me, Monday Night Raw this week was a little bit hit and miss.
Ending the show on the positive note that the company did, though, made up for the show’s earlier lulls, and ultimately, I think this was a decent way to sign off before WrestleMania.
Of course, we’ve still got Main Event and SmackDown to come this week, but I wouldn’t expect to see too many more noteworthy developments from here on in.
So what did you guys think of the go-home episode of Monday Night Raw?
Which matches are you looking for to at ‘Mania the most?
And are you excited for the Showcase of the Immortals on Sunday evening?
Please feel free to comment below with your thoughts on these topics, as well as any of the issues that were discussed in the article.