Monday Night Raw Recap 2/2/2015: The Authority Shakes It Up
Well, it seems as if the WWE is listening to the universe with tonight's Monday Night Raw. With speculation as to what Triple H's big announcement would be since Smackdown last week, fans were hoping their prayers would be answered. Similarly to last year when Daniel Bryan won his way into the main event of Wrestlemania, the WWE seems to be appeasing fans by giving them what they want, and what they want isn't Reigns.
This week's Raw progresses the main event storyline as well as some of the midcard storylines, which is refreshing since they are usually ignored on Raw in place of the main story. I'll cover the main storylines and events of Raw, leaving out some of the throw away segments.
Raw opened with Trips and Stephanie coming out to the typical boos, looking smug as always. As a New England Patriots fan, I had a good chuckle at the two trolling the fans about the Super Bowl win saying that it was "best for business". However, the aforementioned announcement entailed Trips attempting to nullify Roman Reigns' Royal Rumble victory due to the interference of the Rock at the end. Reigns came out to protest the possible nullification, as well as Daniel Bryan and Seth Rollins, both of which made cases as to why they should be in the main event. I was happy to see the WWE figuring in Bryan being stripped of title as a way to insert him into the main event picture, smart writing can be so useful sometimes. The outcome of the announcement was that Rollins and Bryan would face off in the main event of Raw for a shot at Reigns at Fastlane for his title shot.
I enjoyed the segment as it gave so much needed depth to Reigns' character as well as showing that he isn't afraid of a fight. I'm really glad they didn't have Cena come down to the ring to participate in the airing of grievances as it would have been too crowded. However, I am glad that E is being very smart in the way they approach the situation.
The Curtis Axel Situation
Curtis Axel was never legally in or thrown out of the Royal Rumble due to interference by Erick Rowan who attacked Axel on his way down to the ring. It was another loose end that fans were hoping would come into play to change the outcome of the Rumble, but honestly, it was more or less swept under the rug. Axel came out and cut a promo about how he was never in the Rumble and deserved his shot at Lesnar for the championship. He was interrupted by Dean Ambrose who summarily threw Axel out of the ring and called out Wade Barrett, the current IC champion.
It was disappointing to see the Axel situation dealt with in a way that really doesn't clarify or give an answer as to how or if it will be rectified. The announcement gave no chance of there being any outcome to Axel's dilemma; it leave a huge hole in the story which is just typical WWE sloppy writing. Sloppy writing is insulting to the thinking fan because they hope that we won't notice their sloppiness.
Ziggler Takes on Bray Wyatt
Dolph Ziggler is one of the best wrestlers in the WWE right now, and he continues to pad his resume with awesome matches like the one tonight against Bray Wyatt. As per mandated by Stephanie McMahon upon his rehiring to the WWE, Ziggler faced Wyatt in a Raw classic. Ziggler can sell like no one else, and he made Wyatt look like a beast, especially when Wyatt hit a suplex off the apron to the ground as well as Wyatt's Sister Abigail. The match was the best of the evening due to lack of interference and both superstars looking strong even with a Ziggler loss. Wyatt took a Fameasser then stood back up to hit Ziggler with Sister Abigail; Ziggler making the move look as devastating as possible. Fantastic match.
Wyatt's Undertaker Promo
Bray Wyatt's promo on an ambiguous "you" was one of, if not the most important, thing to happen this evening. While it's rumored that Bray Wyatt will be facing the Undertaker at Wrestlemania, I take rumors with a grain of salt and a shot of penicillin especially wrestling rumors. However, this promo seems to reinforce the idea that Wyatt will be taking on the immortal Deadman at Mania.
I can't wait to see the promos that the two cut on one another as they should have Wyatt reinforcing the idea that Taker is past his prime and not the Deadman anymore but a caricature. It will be what Wyatt does best, attacking the legacy of an established superstar while spouting his brand of religious fervor. I cannot wait to what comes next.
Daniel Bryan vs. Seth Rollins
10 years ago if you told someone in the IWC (Internet wrestling community) that Tyler Black (Seth Rollins) and Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan) would be main eventing Monday Night Raw, they would have laughed in your face. How wrong they would be, how insanely wrong. Bryan and Rollins put on an absolute clinic in the main event showcasing both of their signature offenses. It was good to see Bryan return to Raw and have his first match of the year on Raw against Rollins, not Big Show or Kane. The match was crisp with alot of fluid action, ending with Reigns interfering, hitting the Superman punch on Rollins while the referee was distracted, allowing Bryan to get the pin.
My only issue with the match is the interference by four individuals: Big Show, J. and J. Security, and Roman Reigns. I understand that each of them had a vested interest in the outcome of the match but there is something to be said for a clean finish. I can't tell if we are in the middle of a Reigns heel turn since he did, whether intentionally or unintentionally, attempt to get Bryan DQ'd from the match. If they want to turn Reigns heel, they have a golden opportunity at Fastlane to do so, and I think they should take advantage of it. I can't wait to see the match at Fastlane as it will be a crucial turning point for the WWE.
This week's Raw continued to right the wrongs of the Royal Rumble with Daniel Bryan being possibly inserted into the main event of Wrestlemania. Along with the main event, Bray Wyatt may also have cut his first promo on the Undertaker which could lead to an interesting match at Mania. A pretty solid Raw, hopefully they can continue the momentum through Fastlane.
Raw Rating: 4 out of 5 groan-inducing Big Show interferences