Last week’s Monday Night Raw was a huge letdown from the week before. In my opinion, the WWE is having a difficult time selling many of the feuds going on currently. Roman Reigns hasn’t even confronted Brock Lesnar yet, and the only interaction between the two was the interview at WWE Studios when Raw was canceled due to the never-ending blizzards in the Northeast. Hopefully the two will be in the same ring this week and throw a couple punches. I can’t remember a main-event at WrestleMania that I cared less about. This seems to be a trend with the matches at WrestleMania. The show is less than two weeks away and there is hardly any buzz around the event. It is difficult to get invested in the storylines when three matches feature talent that are barely on the show. Both Lesnar and Sting are rarely there and The Undertaker is lifting weights in Death Valley somewhere.
Hopefully, this week’s Raw will change all of that. Hopefully, Brock Lesnar confronts Roman Reigns and the two brawl around the arena. Hopefully, The Undertaker comes out from under the ring and choke-slams Bray Wyatt through the announcer’s table. Will this be the week that Mizdow finally loses it and turns on The Miz? Will the WWE give the Divas some actual time to wrestle or will we get another quick match? There are a lot of storylines and feuds that need to have some life injected into them after last week’s disappointing Raw. Will this week’s Raw right the wrongs of last week and get everyone excited for WrestleMania again? Or will the WWE Universe find themselves even less excited than they were after last week’s show? Here are 10 takeaways from this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw.
*Spoilers follow below!
10. Another Promo Opens the Show
Raw opens with a promo from Seth Rollins addressing the viscous attack he suffered last week at the hands of Randy Orton. Seth Rollins is from Davenport, Iowa so the interaction between him and the Iowa crowd was amusing. Rollins is slowly but surely developing into a well-rounded sports entertainer. His in-ring skills are quite possibly the best the WWE has to offer and if he continues to develop his promo skills, he has unlimited potential. This promo was wildly entertaining and the highlight was Joey Mercury crying in the Big Show’s arms. In the end we learned what we already knew, Orton will be facing Rollins at WrestleMania.
9. So You Are Telling Me There’s a Chance?
The Divas division will in fact be featured at WrestleMania, as the Bella twins will face Paige and AJ Lee. I’m guessing that means there will be no Divas title match at WrestleMania, which is odd. This week’s Raw actually did a decent job of selling that match and allowed AJ Lee and Nikki Bella to have a solid eight minute match. It seems that the WWE is in fact giving the Divas a chance. Only time will tell if that is the case. Next week could feature another incredibly short match and a pointless backstage promo.
Miz and Mizdow continue to hint at a fight between the two. It is revealed that both The Miz and Mizdow will be in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania. After another loss to Ryback by The Miz, he finally turned on Mizdow and hit him with the skull-crushing finale. For some reason I am interested in this storyline. I don’t see where else to go from here besides having Mizdow get the upper-hand on The Miz next week and then a clash at WrestleMania during the battle royal. I was hoping that The Miz and Mizdow would have a singles match at WrestleMania, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
7. The 80’s Called, They Want Their Storyline Back
Like always, half of the crowd hates John Cena and half of the crowd loves him. However, Rusev is universally hated by the crowd and I mean that in the best way possible. Rusev has established himself as a great heel in the company and I almost feel like this whole United States versus Russia angle is unneeded. Sure, it gets the crowd to chant “USA!” but it feels quite dated. Rusev comes out with a nerdy looking attorney instead of Lana and the crowd was hugely disappointed. Rusev’s attorney informed Cena that Rusev never actually agreed to the match and the only way the match will take place is if Rusev is allowed to read a prepared speech. The speech was incredibly stupid and this storyline feels like something straight out of the 1980s. It will be Cena versus Rusev at WrestleMania and I do not believe this corny promo did anything to help hype that match.
6. Horribly Horrible
The WWE is doing their best to make absolutely nobody care about the tag team division. Cesaro and Tyson Kidd are pretty much the only interesting team in the division. The New Day in general gets no response from the audience. I’m not sure whom exactly the WWE is marketing The New Day towards, but I am quite sure it is not working. Then the WWE did their best to bury another fan favorite, Cesaro. El Torito performed a hurricanrana on Cesaro and sent him flying out of the ring. Los Matadores then posed and celebrated in the ring to the delight of no one.
5. Invisible Champion
Brock Lesnar is on Raw! Well, not really. He was on a taped vignette where which he stateed that he’s going to destroy Roman Reigns at WrestleMania. That is great, and hopefully when Brock Lesnar gets to the ring he doesn’t mistake the camera man for Reigns and attack him because the two have only met each other once. This is the most under-developed, uninteresting WWE World Heavyweight title feud I can remember. If Roman Reigns wins at WrestleMania, will anyone care? The WWE has done an extremely poor job of getting the WWE Universe to buy into Roman Reigns as champion. It was then revealed that on next week’s episode on Raw, Brock Lesnar will actually appear in person on Monday Night Raw.
4. It’s Paul or Nothing
Paul Heyman once again was called upon to sell the main-event at WrestleMania between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar, and he gave another terrific promo. Heyman emphasizes the word “can’t” throughout. This upset Roman Reigns, who came out with a new shirt that reads “I can. I will.” Even though Lesnar wasn’t there, this promo was still decent. Unfortunately, there has been so little hype behind this match that I don’t think there really is any saving it at this point. The best part about this feud, if you can even call it that, between Reigns and Lesnar has been Paul Heyman. It simply doesn’t feel like a WrestleMania main-event, no matter how much Heyman and the WWE try to sell us that it is.
3. Wasted Talent
Daniel Bryan is still the most popular star in the company. Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose are quite popular as well. Yet, for some inexplicable reason, all three men were just tossed into a seven man Intercontinental title ladder match. I don’t think too many people find R-Truth stealing Wade Barrett’s Intercontinental championship amusing, yet they keep making it a focal point of the storyline. Bryan, Ziggler and Ambrose faced Barrett, Stardust and Luke Harper in a six-man tag team match. The crowd was dead during the beginning of this match, just like this storyline seems to be. The match did ultimately develop into an entertaining match. Thankfully, we only have to watch one more episode of Raw where they’ll waste their most popular superstars until WrestleMania finally gets here. Then at WrestleMania we will see a highly entertaining match featuring some of the best talent WWE has to offer. While that sounds exciting, don’t be surprised if it gets half the time Sting versus Triple H gets, a match that will probably contain five moves.
2. Sting Saves the Show
Throughout the entire night, Rollins seemed to lose all his pals. Kane and Big Show said they wouldn’t accompany him to the ring during his match against Randy Orton. Jamie Noble quit the company and Joey Mercury joined him. Turns out it was all a ruse and The Authority accompanied him to the ring during the main-event. I figured this was going to happen from the beginning of the show. However, I didn’t expect Sting to show up and save the day. Sting came out and saved Randy Orton from a beatdown from The Authority. It was an awesome moment and saved the show from being a complete failure.
1. Down the Wrong Road
Just like last week, this week’s Raw was really disappointing. Brock Lesnar was yet again not in attendence. The Undertaker was yet again not in attendence. Instead we got another Paul Heyman promo and another Bray Wyatt vignette. It is just such a poor way to sell the biggest wrestling event of the year. John Cena versus Rusez feels like a match from 30 years ago. It is essentially Rocky Balboa versus Ivan Drago. It most likely be an entertaining match and I’m sure the WWE will have Rusev’s entrance at WrestleMania be over the top with Russian propaganda and theatrics. It really is one of the worst build ups to a WrestleMania I’ve ever seen. I mean, the best part of this week’s Raw was a 55 year old man swinging a baseball bat. WWE now has one more episode of Raw to try to get people hyped for this year’s WrestleMania.
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