It’s the first Raw of the new year! Can WWE kick off Wrestlemania season with a bang or will it be more of a whimper? With an advertised World Title match and another schedule appearance by Mr McMahon himself, you could only hope for something special. Did they deliver?

Well the title match itself was a predictably over booked mess with countless attempts to try and screw over Roman Reigns from Mr McMahon. We even saw ‘crooked’ referee Scott Armstrong again which with Michael Cole’s reactions always make fun. In the end Reigns came through it all completely unscathed as we all knew he would.

I suppose it depends on your perspective. If you like Roman Reigns like the crowd did then you’ll love it. For me it wasn’t so great. The main issue I have isn’t the booking of the match itself, it’s the characters in it. The simple facts are that Roman Reigns is supposed to be the protagonist of this story but I just don’t like him. I can’t get behind his character. He’s smug and he’s unbeatable. Now you could easily argue that both The Rock and Steve Austin has similar character traits but at least they had the charisma to pull it off. Reigns as a face doesn’t do it for me.

After the match Vince announces that Roman will have to defend his title with the Royal Rumble match itself. We haven’t seen that before so that’s pretty cool. I really hope Reigns doesn’t win though but I fear he will. Personally I’d love to see Lesnar destroy everyone, even if that would probably mean Lesnar/ Reigns 2 at Wrestlemania. My hope would be that Triple H returns and costs Roman the match to start their ‘mania feud and have Lesnar move onto fight someone else. Who that would be, I don’t know. The Rock?

The Good

tumblr_o0hkzoapda1sbzhteo1_400I feel like each and every week I feature Kevin Owens in this section. Maybe I should just change its name to Owens Is Good or something? Neville also deserves a mention, he is so incredibly talented its unreal. Although, I will mention that he was suppose to be wrestling with injured ribs. Didn’t really see any evidence of that though…

tumblr_o0gsq9qch51twkp9to1_400This week Kevin had another good match with Neville, as you’d expect.With Owens picking up the victory and proving that Neville’s 30 second win last week was a fluke. Dean Ambrose who was on commentary broke up the post match beat down getting some revenge of his own. It ended with an elbow drop from the barricade through the announce table. Awesome stuff.

I’ve enjoyed this slow burn of a heel turn that the WWE have done with Charlotte. Rather than just being a random personality change we’ve witnessed her gradually develop into a ‘Flair’. WWE finally pulled the trigger this week with Charlotte acting Becky Lynch after their match. In what has felt like the only divas feud to actually feature a storyline in the last twelve months I won’t say it’s been a joy to watch, but its a lot better.

The Wyatt family continue their rebuilding process this week by taking out both Ryback and Big Show. WWE need to keep this group dominate at the beast of times but especially now that we are so close to Wrestlemania session. Granted it wasn’t particularly exciting to watch, but it is necessary.

I’m honestly not sure where to rank this, so I’ll be nice and say it’s a good thing. The League of Nations continue to look strong against midcarders, such as The Uso’s this week.The issue that the League of Nations have is that if they were just a midcard gimmick then they would be doing fine, but they keep getting involved with main even stars such as Roman Reigns or John Cena. Who immediately destroy them. This group are meant to be a threat to everyone, but clearly they are not.

Chris Jericho is back! Yay! He’s in the Royal Rumble! Yay! He’s got his fun Y2J persona which admittedly is a little hit an miss these days! Yay?

tumblr_o0grajzlcr1unu9zio1_400I love Chris Jericho, but he past few returns have been rather lacking. However using The New Day’s powers of positivity I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt for now. The crowd were a little damp for the segment, as they were all night, so it will be interesting to see how other cities respond. Just as long as he doesn’t do same routine each week, Jericho could be a lot of fun. What I love about Jericho’s returns is that he always wants to work with and help put over new stars.

I’m glad to see that Kalisto (and thus the Lucha Dragons) are still getting a push despite Sin Cara’s injury. This week he teamed with The Dudley’s to take on The New Day. It was a losing effort in the end but at least Kalisto still got a chance to look really good.

The Bad

It was a tough crowd this week. The San Antonio attendees won’t go down as the greatest live crowd in history that’s for sure. Unless you’re name was Roman Reigns then all you got was the odd chant when encouraged too but other than that rather limited responses and cheering. A hyped up crowd can really add to a show, but a none responsive one can kill it. It was awkward listening to promos and watching matches that should be getting responses but aren’t. Even The New Day struggled through a promo with Chris Jericho.

It makes me laugh that people dare to criticise crowds such as NXT Takeover: London for being ‘too loud’. Is this what you want instead?!

Another week goes by another boring opening promo. This week it once again features Stephanie McMahon and Roman Reigns. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. I don’t like Roman Reigns when he talks, but I won’t go on about it.

This is one of the problems with Raw right now, it’s repetitive and it’s boring. Skip.

Oh look everybody, it’s Ric Flair again. Joy of joys. Can WWE not find a way to get her over without her daddy? She’s never going to become her own woman with him around all the time. Maybe that will be a storyline down the road?

The referee definitely saw Ric holding Becky’s leg as well by the way. Where’s the disqualification ref? Instead you count a pin fall attempt made by Charlotte? People say Scott Armstrong is the evil ref but this guy must be pretty crooked as well!

Where was John Cena? He made his big return last week but doesn’t even show up this Raw. All we got was a pre taped video of him advertising for a WWE live event in India. Is Cena really go part time?

How does somebody with so much experience like Vince McMahon get completely lost within such a planned out main event match. After being superman punch by Reigns he was about to get speared until Sheamus made the save. Two brogue kicks later and Sheamus calls down Scott Armstrong to make the count for him.

The problem is, in the mean time Vince had stood up completely and was watching the entire thing unfold, but for some bizarre reason couldn’t make the three count himself! It looked ridiculous!

The Ugly

Those awful punches thrown by Charlotte during her match with Becky Lynch were embarrassingly poor. Both during the match and in the post match attack she positioned herself on top of Becky and then proceeded to throw the lightest, not even hurting air punches. Kayfabe breakingly bad.

Speaking of kayfabe breaking moves. I was happy to see Jimmy (I think) Uso escape from Alberto Del Rio’s horribly contrived ‘caught upside down on the turn buckle double foot stomp’. The Uso’s were not second time lucky though. Either the wrestler receiving the move needs to learn how to sell it or Del Rio needs to stop doing it because right now it looks shit.