Pruett's Pause: WWE Raw - Daniel Bryan's lack of Rumble was announced, Triple H and Stephanie troll the fans perfectly, Batista is greeted with apathy, Brock Lesnar destroys some things, and more!
By Will Pruett
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In the opening segment of Raw, we saw the response from The Authority and Daniel Bryan after the outrage following the Royal Rumble match. WWE had to acknowledge their mistake and the crowd uprising from Sunday night. They had to put Daniel Bryan on screen early and have him get mad. They had to do something, because they didn't want another show being highjacked by a displeased live crowd.
One major plus to this approach was Daniel Bryan getting some actual promo time to show actual displeasure in not being included in the Rumble. When fans are as upset as they were on Sunday night, they need someone to be their voice on Raw. Daniel Bryan needs to be the voice of the angry fans. He needs to be as passionate about getting a title shot as his fans are about him getting a title shot. This was a nice beginning. Bryan's promo was good, but I wish he was a little less amazed at how much people love him. The humble smile is great, but a pissed off demeanor would mean more to his fans.
Another major positive was the heel work from Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. These two are at their best when trying to antagonize the crowd. Accusing the fans of whining for not getting what they want was tremendous. Both of them shined as heels here, which makes me wonder why they don't play heels full time. If WWE is going to use "The Authority" then they should be used at their best.
The crowd on this show was not as passionate about Bryan as the crowd at the Rumble was, which honestly disappointed me. I was hoping for a little more revolutionary spirit, but they did what was asked of them when prompted to "Yes" and chant. Ultimately, this was one of the more mild responses we'll see for Bryan, which is quite impressive when you think about it.
I'm not sure this show worked to pacify fans of Bryan who feel cheated. I'm not sure anything will make them feel better until Bryan wins the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. One interesting thing to keep an eye on is Extreme Rules, which is in Seattle this year. Remember how the 12th man revolted for Bryan at the end of December? Is WWE aiming to give Bryan his biggest moment in front of his most rabid fanbase (and safely away from the spotlight of WrestleMania)?
As it becomes clearer that "the machine" holding Bryan down is a work, will the fans stay interested in it? Will they show the same passion when it is clear this is all a way to push Bryan? Isn't it odd that fans will rise up to support someone not getting pushed with more fervor than they will when the right person is pushed?
Either way, this show took some major steps forward in the development of Daniel Bryan, and how couldn't it? The Rumble was a clear statement from fans.
And one for some random thoughts:
- I'm glad Sheamus and John Cena ran out to save Bryan from The Shield. After the disastrous fall in WWE where babyfaces forgot how to be good people, this was necessary.
- Seth Rollins did his best Shockmaster impression on Raw. Solid work, Seth.
- When I'm feeling down and need a little motivation, a slap in the face from Zeb Colter usually wakes me up. I now see Jack Swagger has discovered this magic as well. Was this the tease of a breakup, or is Swagger just in need of a little tough love?
- If Swagger was to break off from The Real Americans, I have to wonder what would happen with Antonio Cesaro. One would think he would be the babyface coming out of the breakup, but would Zeb stay with him?
- Rey Mysterio, one night after being booed out of the Rumble, was just kind of there. Is it time for his big retirement match yet?
- Wade Barrett made me laugh tonight. That was some solid bad news.
- I tried my best to ignore R-Truth vs. Fandango. It made me happy.
- Brad Maddox is a great on-air character, but his role is pointless. He was literally in the ring to introduce Randy Orton and stand. Why was he necessary? There is a ring announcer specifically placed at ringside to introduce people!
- Randy Orton had no idea he would be defending his championship. Apparently, despite over ten years in wrestling, Orton has never watched or understood wrestling.
- Batista did a nice job responding to the crowd booing him at the Rumble and greeting him with apathy on this show. He didn't do a nice job of cutting a promo. He sounds as rusty on the mic as he looked in the ring on Sunday night. Maybe WWE should have had him train down in Florida for a month before returning. He needs the help.
- In one week Batista went from skinny jeans to dressing like an almost normal, yet still stylish person. He does not need time in wardrobe at the Performance Center.
- The idea of a triple threat with Bryan taking on Batista and Orton at WrestleMania has been thrown around. It would definitely ensure a babyface presence in a title match few fans will care about. Batista has to be seen as a bust right now.
- Brock Lesnar makes the entire WWE World Heavyweight Championship picture more interesting. He also made this show much more interesting with his challenge to Orton or Batista. I didn't think much would come of it, but the challenge and followup were really well done.
- Did Cleveland even want Dolph Ziggler or The Miz?
- The Uso's are good and the tag division seems to be in a nice place right now. Ryback and Curtis Axel could be released tomorrow and no one would really notice.
- Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston happened in 2011 at Elimination Chamber. Three years later, they're in the exact same place on the card. A long match between them is not interesting.
- The Middle Age Outlaws vs. Cody Rhodes and Goldust was not super interesting. It felt like they were working towards being beat up by a random monster. Conveniently, this is what happened. Good for Brock.
- Brock Lesnar must have eaten a Jimmy Johns sandwich prior to beating up The Brotherhood.
- Another eight diva tag match? How do these Total Divas matches keep happening? The triple suplex spot in this match was a highlight of an otherwise sleepy effort.
- Jake "The Snake" Roberts getting inducted into the Hall of Fame is a great story of redemption. I'm really excited to hear his speech. I'm also really excited to feel the palpable awkwardness of him sharing a stage with Ultimate Warrior.
- The main event match was a very good six man tag setup to highlight Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan. It was also great to see Sheamus in a normal match once again. Unlike Batista, who seems to have forgotten how to wrestle, Sheamus looks really good in the ring.
- The finish of the main event was a pretty weak way for three bad ass babyfaces to end up in a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match. I do believe the greater good was served with the setup for The Wyatt Family vs. The Shield to happen before Roman Reigns breaks off and sheds his tactical vest.
This Raw was a nice reset episode to further our journey on the Road to WrestleMania. It seems like WWE is working towards correcting the major mistake they made with the Rumble, but they have to find a way to get a real babyface in the title picture. Batista isn't likable and he isn't going to cut it.
WWE is an interesting world right now. It's honestly fascinating to see what is happening.
So, what did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to email me at email@example.com or to follow me and interact on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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