Welcome to this week's edition of Raw Afterthoughts, where we break down last night's show in more detail than we can in a live show recap. Got thoughts and questions of your own? Be sure to hit us on Twitter. We'll be recording a new edition of RingRap Audio tomorrow night, so be sure to flag them with the #AskRingRap tag so we discuss them on the show!
The Top Ten, in no particular order:
1. O'Neil Squashes the Ryder Revolution
It was logical to have the newly-turned-heel Titus O'Neil squash someone, and who better than Zack Ryder. Ryder is "jobber" status these days on the roster so he is certainly not hurt by this. The thing I didn't get was Miz coming out to rant on commentary. That whole moment felt pointless, because Miz is not involved with either man.
2. Dancing her way into our attention...
I'm a tad annoyed with the way WWE is introducing NXT talent Emma to the main roster. Emma has a gimmick that is way over with the NXT audience, but is not familiar to the Raw audience. Raw viewers, and live crowds, don't react to her like the NXT folks do. Last night was a prime example - as Omaha just sat on their hands during the dance-off segment. She seems like a fun new talent for the roster, but this isn't how to introduce her.
3. A Filthy Perro and a Mexican Import...
Can the return of Batista be any more of a disappointment? He has yet to explain his return, or why he even left. He walked back on to Raw on January 20, hugged the Authority, and went on without as much as another word. That seems to be preventing the fans from connecting with him, despite his claiming of the Wrestlemania main event.
The good thing in that segment though was Del Rio. He showed some good intensity that he hasn't shown in some time. Del Rio was "dressed down" from the aristocrat gimmick that he normally plays in jeans and a t-shirt. It may be good to let Del Rio simply be himself, because he seemed comfortable in this segment.
4. The "Yes! Movement" Gains Momentum:
Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan had a sound and straightforward main event wrestling match. This wouldn't have been out of place on a pay per view in the upper part of the card. Michael Cole tried to make it a big deal when Bryan won, but Bryan has already proven he can beat Orton in a fair fight, so it lacked a bit of luster here.
Kane's appearance in the end, and the subsequent beatdown, meant little to nothing. Corporate Kane isn't working for me like it might be for our own Matt Hester. Maybe if things line up they can play off of Kane and Bryan's history and breathe a bit of life into Kane. But that might take the shine off of Bryan too.
5. Six-Man Madness
They continue to tease the tension within the Shield, which isn't bad. They did it again last night in a solid six-man tag. Ambrose stole the pin away from Roman Reigns, which set things up for them to jaw at each other afterward.
I'm down on Langston losing to The Shield. Fans react to his offense when he gets on a run. He isn't ready for the big stage, but he is quickly becoming another guy that it seems Vince wanted to do something with, but forgot about. And it does nothing for the Intercontinental Championship.
In the other match, The Wyatts picked up a win to keep their momentum going heading to the showdown with the Shield. The vibe of the Family promo was very good, even though Bray wasn't quite as "on" as he normally is. Ziggler taking the loss was surprising in light of the promo he cut on the WWE app last week.
7. The Authority Can't Decide...
I am so through with this "shades of grey" business from Triple H and Stephanie. These characters are a problem. By their reactions, fans just aren't intrigued by what they're doing either. This is the same Authority that has been bigfooting their way over Randy Orton and making him look like a puppet champion. Either take a side, or step aside.
8. Funk is on a roll...
It looks like WWE is setting Naomi up to be the flavor of the month challenger to AJ for the Divas Championship. I give Naomi credit - she's athletic, and can hit some impressive spots. But she can't do the some of the basics and that's a problem. And fans overall aren't responding to her. They're mildly interested in the Funkadactyls, but they don't buy her as a challenger to the title. And Aksana was just wreckless dropping her knee on Naomi's face.
9. Channeling his Inner Kurt Angle...
Cody Rhodes took a big chance at Madison Square Garden a few months back and hit a nice moonsault off the cage. He decided to repeat the spot last night, and it looked bad. Road Dogg wasn't in position to catch him well and he really crashed and burned.
But the biggest thing here is the need for WWE to pull the plug on the Outlaws as champs. Rhodes and Goldust were consistent and delivered good, time consuming matches on Raw. The problem I see with the Outlaws as champion is it slowed their momentum, as they were forced into slow, plodding, and clumsy matches with the Outlaws that they failed to win.
Don't misunderstand me. I like the Outlaws, and did when the were at their height in the 90's. This return isn't working, and it's compounded by this shades of grey crap that seems prevalent right now. Road Dogg plays to the fans with his entrance schtick before the match and everyone chants along, then during the match he plays a heel. It's just not working.
10. Raw is Blah
I think WWE was just trying to survive last night. John Cena was out with an eye injury (though according to reports he appeared in the dark segment). Brock Lesnar didn't appear, and the same for Paul Heyman. CM Punk is, for the foreseeable future, absent except for the fan chants. None of this helped the creative effort last night, and it showed.
That's all for this week. Be sure to catch RingRap Audio tomorrow night where we talk about this show and many more topics!