Powell's WWE Raw Hit List: Daniel Bryan joins The Wyatt Family, Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman return, Big E Langston vs. Fandango, Bad News Barrett, Total Divas vs. Non Total Divas Part 87
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw Hits
Daniel Bryan and The Wyatt Family: I felt like I missed a couple of chapters in this story because we went from happy go lucky Daniel Bryan all these months to him suddenly being so frustrated (by everything that should have bothered him more all along) that he joined the Wyatt Family. There's plenty to pick apart here and I fear that this could be a big time mess by the time it's all said and done, but I am as intrigued by this out of nowhere development as anything WWE has done in recent months. And while I am concerned about what this could do to Bryan, it certainly elevates Bray Wyatt and company.
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman return: What I saw of this was very good. I had to rely on the WWE website after the show because DirecTV went into meltdown mode during this segment. So I missed Triple H's reintroduction of Lesnar, which is probably for the best since Jake Barnett's impromptu description that was added to my live coverage review last night left me scratching my head. It just seemed too simple for Hunter, Lesnar, and Heyman to bury the hatchet. Based on what I was able to see after Raw, it was a strong segment that reestablished Brock as a badass (as if that was ever necessary) and set him up as a player for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Heyman's sit-down interview with Michael Cole after the show was very good and seemed to foreshadow a potential issue involving Lesnar and the returning Dave Batista.
C.M. Punk vs. Seth Rollins: A good match to open the show. During the setup, I was wondering if they would go with Punk in singles matches against all three members of The Shield to kill time due to the crew being split as a result of the live event in Toronto (results on the main page). However, they saved that for Daniel Bryan and The Wyatt Family. The only thing that didn't make any sense was Punk mentioning that The Shield are too much for any one man when he just beat them in a handicap match at the TLC pay-per-view. Still, the segment and the match got things off to a good start, and I'm intrigued by the dissension amongst The Shield members even though I feel like breaking up the group is premature.
Big E Langston vs. Fandango: A good match that made Fandango look strong in defeat without doing anything to derail the momentum that Langston is building. I hope this is a sign of things to come with Fandango. The dancing routine is sports entertainment fun, but he needs to be established as a force inside the ring in order for the character to have any juice. The only major negative of the match is that after Fandango spent the entire match working over Langston's knee, Langston just stood up and ran the ropes Ultimate Warrior style without showing even a hint of knee discomfort.
Damien Sandow vs. The Great Khali: Okay, so the match sucked, as most Khali matches do, but Sandow stating that he would retire if he lost the match gave it a hook. Granted, I didn't think he was actually going to retire, but it still made an otherwise forgettable match a little more interesting. Here's hoping that Sandow acknowledging all of the worst of sports entertainment silliness he's been saddled with lately means his character is moving away from that in the new year.
Total Divas vs. Non Total Divas: A major Hit!!! Only because DirecTV was still having issues and I missed the match. If you were expecting me to say that the Hit was due to the Non Total Divas finally getting a win, you couldn't be more wrong. A Total Divas win here could have been a sign that the "feud" was ending along with 2013, but now it appears we're destined to see more of this mess even though the actual Total Divas television season is over.
Overall show: I assumed we were going to get another holiday week throwaway show until WWE let the word out at the Smackdown taping that Brock Lesnar was going to show up. After all, half the crew was north of the border in Toronto, and WWE usually takes it easy this week and then comes out firing with the first show of the new year. However, this turned out to be a very entertaining and newsworthy edition of Raw thanks to the Lesnar and Paul Heyman returns, and the big angle with Daniel Bryan at the end of the night. If the cliffhanger at the end of the show and all of the advertised stars returning for Old School Raw don't hold up well against the National Championship Game for college football then nothing will. Either way, I was pleasantly surprised by the approach that WWE took last night.
WWE Raw Misses
Bad News Barrett: Well, at least his podium rises and he has cool entrance music. Otherwise, just another week of nonsense involving a guy who is too talented for the role he's been given. And why didn't the babyfaces just surround the podium and kick his ass once he was lowered instead of letting him ruin the party like a the hot girl's fat girlfriend who wants to go home early?
Brodus Clay vs. R-Truth: They had it right until Xavier Woods distracted Clay from the beating he was giving Truth. I'd love to think that Clay is going to get a manager that will get him over the hump and turn him into a monster, but I really fear that he's stuck feuding with Truth, Woods, and Tensai in an undercard program that no one seems to care about. By the way, it's time to find something new for Cameron and Naomi to do. The dancing and even the song have worn out their welcome.
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