Rejuvenated Edge Wows, Damian Priest Earns Bad Bunny Rub, More WWE Raw FalloutFebruary 2, 2021
Rejuvenated Edge Wows, Damian Priest Earns Bad Bunny Rub, More WWE Raw Fallout
The WWE Raw that follows the Royal Rumble is always a step up, but the February 1 edition was particularly special. It felt like a bold new start for a show that has needed fresh talent and ideas for months.
Edge returned to a Raw ring for the first time in nearly a decade. He and Randy Orton wrestled with no cheap tricks and put on a great showing. While Alexa Bliss made another mark on The Viper to end the show, it was a showcase of how healthy The Rated-R Superstar is after so long healing up after injury.
After months of Keith Lee and others warning Drew McIntyre to not trust Sheamus, The Celtic Warrior caught his friend with a Brogue Kick and demanded a title shot. The Scot accepted, but this angle may have become a conventional rivalry far too soon.
Damian Priest made his main roster debut after an impressive effort in the men's Rumble match and defeated The Miz one-on-one thanks to the help of Bad Bunny. The Archer of Infamy also received endorsements from Kane and Edge that signify a bright future.
When Carlito returned at the Royal Rumble, it seemed like a one-off appearance. Instead, he worked with Jeff Hardy this week to defeat Elias and Jaxson Ryker, signaling that Caribbean Cool might be ready for one last important run in WWE.
This week's Raw set the stage for a fascinating Road to WrestleMania. What comes next is up in the air, but there is a lot of promising content to work with until then.
Edge Working Near His Peak After Nearly 10 Years Out of the Ring
Edge had promised to win the men's Rumble match, and he did just that. On Raw, he had one last demon to conquer.
In the main event, he battled Randy Orton in an epic encounter in which both men got to wrestle without any extra production, before The Rated-R Superstar won thanks to a timely distraction by Alexa Bliss.
This was an important moment for Edge. He last wrestled on the red brand on March 28, 2011, teaming with Christian to defeat Alberto Del Rio and Brodus Clay. While that may not have been a special match, Monday's certainly was.
More than the result, it was Edge's performance that stood out. While he and Orton had matches together at WrestleMania and Backlash last year, this contest had no edits or over-the-top special camera angles. It was just two legends fighting with all they have.
At 47 years old, The Rated-R Superstar is one of the oldest men who will compete in a WWE ring in 2021. However, wear and tear is what holds wrestlers back in the long term. Edge went nearly a full decade without the grind of weekly wrestling.
He injured himself in an unfortunate spot at Backlash and had plenty of time to recover. And it seems he is in potentially the best shape of his career and will get a chance to have the performances of his career on The Road to WrestleMania.
Edge vs. Orton looks to be be in the rear-view, though. This year-long feud had memorable moments, but it perhaps, ultimately, did not live up to the hype. Injuries and rushed endings left the story half-finished.
Sheamus' Turn on Drew McIntyre Wastes Great Slow-Burn Angle
Edge came out to face down Drew McIntyre, teasing that he could choose to face the WWE champion at WrestleMania 37. Instead, though, Sheamus took a shot at his friend.
The Celtic Warrior caught the Scot with a Brogue Kick and challenged him for the WWE Championship.
After months of build where everyone knew Sheamus would eventually turn, it was disappointing for WWE to make the choice so suddenly. The creative team did not need the Irishman to attack McIntyre to set up a title match. All that was required was for him to earn his opportunity.
The fascinating dynamic of friends working on opposite sides had serious potential. At every turn, WWE held back on this moment. It's shocking that it chose this moment to throw it all down. This likely means McIntyre vs. Sheamus will happen before WrestleMania 37 on April 10-11.
As it looks unlikely Edge will challenge McIntyre, there is an opening for someone to fight for the WWE Championship at The Show of Shows. While SmackDown has a plethora of great young male stars waiting for an opportunity, Raw's pool of challengers is sparse.
Elimination Chamber is three weeks away, and if Edge and Bianca Belair challenge the SmackDown champions, that means the men's and women's Elimination Chamber matches should determine the No. 1 contenders for Raw.
Rhea Ripley or Charlotte Flair are likely to emerge for the women. With Braun Strowman missing on the Raw after the Royal Rumble and Keith Lee not cleared for action, perhaps WWE will go with a more unconventional option such as recent additions to the red brand.
Damian Priest Begins Rise to the Top of Raw Thanks to Bad Bunny
Damian Priest eliminated four men in the men's Royal Rumble match, including The Miz and John Morrison with Bad Bunny's help. The rapper appeared on Monday's Raw to further put over The Archer of Infamy, helping him defeat The A-Lister in singles action.
Throughout the night, legends including Edge and Kane put over Priest. It felt like WWE was doing everything to make clear the former NXT star is the immediate future. He seems to be in a feud with Miz and Morrison, which could be a major opportunity to build him up.
There is even an outside chance that the Money in the Bank briefcase could change hands again. Miz does not seem to be set up well to challenge any world champion, but The Archer of Infamy could use it to punch his ticket to WrestleMania 37.
If WWE has the Raw men compete in the Elimination Chamber, Priest could make a bigger name for himself working with stars like Braun Strowman, Keith Lee, Sheamus, Bobby Lashley and other dominant performers.
The company has a reputation for struggling to help talent translate to the main roster. Even stars now thriving took far too long to make it. The Archer of Infamy has serious momentum both in the ring and from media coverage of Bad Bunny's WWE appearances.
Even if Priest is not the immediate plan for world title aspirations, he has the size, look and talent to become a household name in no time. He will be main-eventing before long.
Carlito Has Chance to Rewrite His Legacy Wth WWE Return
Carilto made a surprise return to WWE in the men's Royal Rumble match and looked better than he did when he left in 2010. While he didn't last long in Sunday's contest, WWE made up for that by having him team with Jeff Hardy to defeat Elias and Jaxson Ryker on Raw.
Caribbean Cool has always felt like a case of wasted potential. The charismatic performer never seemed to quite hit the peak he could have with the company. His run felt similar to another veteran who has returned to WWE, MVP.
In 2020, MVP made an even less impressive return to action in the Rumble. However, after floundering a bit at first, he found his calling when he brought together The Hurt Business to make a stable that has been one of Raw's few reliable success stories.
Carlito has more in the tank as a wrestler than MVP. While he may not have the same magnetic mic skills, he can perform at a top level and showed it with his fast-paced offense in his return to action.
While not everyone can come back and change their legacy in WWE, a few veterans have been able to do it. Carlito may start slow and put his focus into helping younger stars develop, but he's another long-time star who could have one last great run in him.