Welcome to this week's edition of Raw Afterthoughts, where we break down last night's show in more detail than we can during a live show recap. Feel free to comment, ask questions, or add your own opinions below. Or, you can hit us on Twitter.
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The Royal Rumble is this coming Sunday. The 30-man match is always a highlight of this night and sets up the road to Wrestlemania. The problem is, last night's show didn't seem to do much for it.
The star of the night last night though - at least in terms of promotion - was Batista. He has been away for a few years now, and last night he came back. His promo toward Randy Orton was quite simple: He's back to reclaim the title and be the main event of Wrestlemania again. Simple and to the point.
But I'm not sure what I was expecting. When he came out wearing the Justin Bieber-esque jacket and skinny jeans, it caught me off guard as it's not his normal wear. For him to hug Triple H and Stephanie was also a bit strange, though it wasn't a major detriment to his re-introduction. In all, it just didn't leave me all sorts of excited about his return and the possibility of facing Randy Orton for the title.
Speaking of the title, John Cena emerged at the end of the show to extract a measure of revenge on Randy Orton for beating up his father last week. The brawl was what it was, but it sort of fell flat in the end. The announcers had a hard time selling it, especially the part where Orton escaped in the car. It wasn't anything that got me all enamored for the match on Sunday.
I think what WWE should have done was sent John Cena out there to deliver one of his "preacher man" promos. He could have spoken passionately about how he wanted to get Orton in the ring on Sunday to fight for the title as a means of revenge. Orton could have kept low, avoiding him at every turn.
Two closing thoughts on this. They should have waited a week to have Orton and Batista confront each other. They really rushed into this, and they also lumped in Batista with that tired "which side is the Authority on" trash. Also, Kofi Kingston was lost in all of this. I didn't expect him to get a serious push, but I hoped they would do more with the fact that he beat the reigning champion last week, cleanly.
Let's hope that the rest of the WWE's programming this week helps to bring hype to the Rumble. They gave us the "by the numbers" videos, which are great, but I still feel like we need some sell to the event. It should be good, as always, but it feels like it's not quite clicking.
Other Points of Note:
Here's the Reason...
Daniel Bryan had a chance to give a reason for what he did last week when he suddenly exited the Wyatt Family. The one he gave was really the only one he could give, and it worked. I think there's a bit of a flaw in Bryan saying he will get Wyatt one on one in the ring at Royal Rumble because Harper and Rowan will be in the Rumble match.
The payoff the fans really want though is to see Bryan in the Rumble. We didn't get that announcement, and that was a bit of a letdown. Any way you slice it, Bryan is way over, and Wyatt's place in the Bryan promo was well done as well.
Back on Track...
The Rhodes Brothers got back on track after a rare flop in the ring last week. The six-man tag was well done, and everyone got a chance to show their stuff. Langston showed some good fire in his offensive flurry.
With Langston taking the loss to Rollins, hopefully that's the next program for the IC Champion. Rhodes or Goldust could have absorbed that loss, but perhaps that was the reason behind Langston taking the loss. Also worth noting, no sign of friction between The Shield members again tonight.
Get Away from There...
I liked the match between CM Punk and Billy Gunn, and I like seeing them work tag matches. They do need to move them on from CM Punk though. I get it that you have to follow up last week's abandoning angle. But Punk's target really needs to be Triple H, and he would just end up being bored of messing around with the Outlaws.
The Quick Strike...
- Xavier Woods, known to TNA fans as Consequences Creed, has talent. His gimmick isn't clicking.
- I think the Fandango character can get over if they establish him as a threat in the ring. That means more matches like last night.
- Show and Lesnar had a minor hit in their segment. Not something that made me salivate for their match on Sunday though.
- WWE does such wonderful work in production as a rule, and the Mae Young package was proof. An emotional moment.
- Stephanie McMahon needs to stop being the ball-buster, as this is getting tired. It works in doses but we're seeing far too much of it.
- WWE, do me a favor. Don't let Rey Mysterio and Alberto Del Rio wrestle for another year. It's not that their match was bad, but we've seen it far too often that it feels flat.
- It's good that WWE has started to introduce Emma to Raw viewers. The problem is, those who don't know her gimmick from NXT won't have the slightest inkling what she's about. They need to do a better job of introducing her to the main roster shows.
That's all for tonight. We'll have a lot more to say on these topics, and wrestling in general, tomorrow night on RingRap Audio. Join us Sunday for live Royal Rumble results and recap, and on Monday for all the fallout in the Raw Recap.