Randy Orton's Brilliant Turn on Edge, Drew McIntyre the Star, More Raw Fallout
Following up on a jam-packed WWE Royal Rumble, the January 27 edition of Monday Night Raw was full steam ahead toward WrestleMania.
Drew McIntyre and Charlotte Flair won their respective Rumble matches, and they had a chance to instantly make their mark by deciding who they would fight on the Grandest Stage of Them All.
Legends of the business returned in the Rumble with a new focus. MVP quietly arrived with a new focus.
Edge though was not quiet with a flurry of pyro behind him as he marched to the ring with a new focus. The Rated R Superstar had plenty to say and do now that he could finally begin to end his career on his own terms.
The red brand though is still about new talent though, and there were clear stories to tell particularly for the standouts. Humberto Carrillo challenged Andrade for the United States Championship and would not rest until he held gold.
This night had much to show fans eager to understand what the future could hold for WrestleMania season.
Randy Orton Ruins Edge Return
WWE built to the main event where Edge walked into a WWE ring for the first time in years after competing the last night. It was a special moment for the fans and for The Rated R Superstar, but Randy Orton came out and ruined it. He assaulted Edge and hit him with a con-chair-to.
While the idea of Edge vs. Orton is not exactly the dream match fans want from his immediate return, this was an inspired move by WWE. It had the crowd on the edge of their seats as The Viper went after one of his former friends and attempted to put him down for good.
Even if everyone knows that Edge has been cleared for action, it is still hard to watch someone with a history of neck problems take that spot at the end. It was sold like Orton had legitimately ended the career of his friend.
The Apex Predator had spent months as a babyface in a role that felt like it was not clicking. It worked though to build to this moment where his frustrations boiled over at the worst moment for the fans.
The crowd was hushed and frightened by one of the single worst things Orton has ever done in a career often defined by the most heinous and despicable acts imaginable.
The Reintroduction of MVP Was Less Successful Than Edge
Montel Vontavious Porter returned in the Royal Rumble to be quickly eliminated by Brock Lesnar. On Monday night, MVP fought Rey Mysterio and fell to the 619 into a springboard splash.
While Edge was made out to be a huge deal and highlighted throughout the night, the return of MVP was mostly thrown under the rug. Of course, he didn't do many favors for himself with an awkward performance where he couldn't find his chemistry with a regular rival.
MVP was never the greatest performer, but this was a showcase that he is not quite ready to stand up to the current talent in WWE. The Master of the 619 is the rare exception to the rule that WWE's best talent is all young, yet he still could not pull much out of the veteran.
While Edge is being treated as a special attraction performer in unforgettable moments, MVP will quietly stumble through matches hopefully at least putting over talent that needs it.
A Mean Streak for Humberto Carrillo Was Desperately Needed
Humberto Carrillo fought Andrade once again for the United States Championship, and Zelina Vega caused a disqualification. Afterward, Carrillo hammerlock DDTed Andrade onto the unpadded cement.
For the longest time, Carrillo has been treated as the ultimate babyface. He smiles. He has fun. He flies around the ring with reckless abandon. He is a good-looking performer who makes his moves in the ring look as pretty as possible.
However, making sure everything looks good is not enough to become a star. You have to be able to sell your offense as impactful. His match with El Idolo did not reach the peaks of their best, but it did set up the biggest moment of their rivalry to date.
Andrade will be out for a month after the spot to sell the move and as part of his suspension due to a Wellness Policy violation per Pro Wrestling Sheet. This gave Carrillo a moment to look like he could truly hurt people when he is pushed.
The Mexican Sensation will become a star if he can build on this mean streak. When heels push him, he doesn't just have to fly around the ring. He can hit hard and land moves that look like they could do serious damage.
Drew McIntyre Standing Out as a Star Immediately
Drew McIntyre opened Raw with a purpose. He stomped to the ring to declare he would fight Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 36. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson challenged him to a match where the 2020 Royal Rumble winner defeated them both. The Beast Incarnate arrived and F5ed him.
From the moment he arrived, The Scottish Psychopath looked and sounded like a star. While this was always obvious from the way he carried himself, his Rumble victory pushed him to the level he always deserved.
No one besides perhaps Roman Reigns has ever felt like more of a threat to Lesnar in the past few years. McIntyre is walking with a purpose and the drive of a man who has never been truly given an opportunity at the top.
If WWE accepts what has already begun, McIntyre will walk out of 'Mania as WWE champion, and it will be obvious for years to come that he is a man that WWE can rely on.