It’s the go home Raw for the Royal Rumble live from Columbus Ohio. WWE have been struggling with most of their Raw’s before PPVs for a while now. They just don’t seem to be able to create a cohesive message of why you should part with your cash. This is impart to constant rematches, poorly booked story lines and wasted talent. However, if you’re Survivor Series it’s probably because WWE didn’t announce any flipping matches for it other than the Title Tournament. Meaning WWE had to announce via social media that they were intending to have two classic survivor series matches on the event mere days before. Luckily the Royal Rumble does not suffer from that problem as we know most of the matches already.
Lets crack on and look at The Good, The Bad and The Ugly from this past Raw.
For the first time in what feels like years The Authority didn’t open up the show with a three month long promo. Granted we still got Roman Reigns again but at least it’s a little different right? I praised Smackdown for switching it up a bit last week so I’ll give Raw the nod this time as well. It’s a step in the right direction we’ll say.
Entertaining Mid Card Acts
Right now WWE has a whole bunch of entertaining and talented mid card acts. The New Day have been excellent for months, the Social Outcasts are ridiculous fun while Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose might have the best booked feud going right now. That said the slow burn heel turn from Charlotte/feud with Becky Lynch has been done rather well too. I’m glad WWE are starting to give more people both mic time and ring time. I’ve seen people criticising the way Big Show beat up the Social Outcasts sending them back to ‘jobber-ville’. The internet seems to forget that jobbers are a much needed part of the wrestling industry, their job is to make other people look good. It’s just that they don’t need to be boring lifeless characters in doing that. They can be just as entertaining and in the long run it will make for a much more balanced show.
The Wyatt Family
Finally The Wyatt family look like a genuine threat again. After being destroyed by Kane and The Undertaker it was an uphill battle to rebuild their credibility in time for Wrestlemania season, but I think they’ve just about done it.
After literally months of beating The Dudley boys (including on this show earlier in the night), Bray Wyatt has moved onto bigger fish and they don’t get much bigger than Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar. They crashed the ‘biggest Highlight Reel’ ever and took out the two favourites (Sorry Jericho, you don’t count) for the Royal Rumble match. Making quite the statement. Awesome to see as I’m a big fan of Bray, despite his lack luster booking he’s had for the last year and a bit. I really want him to win at ‘Maina this year, but I’m sure he’ll be fed to another big star for the third year straight instead.
It looks like WWE have finally let the character of Becky Lynch grow up just a little. Over the past few months she’s moved away from the ridiculously, impossibly naive girl who was a sucker anything. To her own woman who is determined to beat Charlotte at the Royal Rumble and win her first title in WWE. About God damn time! WWE creative seem hung up on the idea that faces often have to be gullible idiots the entire time, when the rest of the world can see everything clearly.
Remember when Chris Jericho returned in 2007 with the same, Y2J, routine he’d been doing in 2000 and it went down like a lead balloon? It’s now 2016 and he’s doing that same old shtick again, to which you might not be surprised is going down like a lead balloon again. The only positive that the 2007 run had was that it led to one of the greatest heel runs ever once he turned. If we’re leading towards that again, then fine I’ll put up with this version of Chris Jericho for a while. If it isn’t heading that way, just stop now please because right now his act stinks of your weird uncle who thinks he’s cool but is actually really embarrassing.
Also since when could Jericho make matches and name himself the guest referee? Who is in charge here?!
The longer Vince sticks around the more obvious it is that he’s lost his mind. Not only are the ideas for the segments he’s putting himself in dreadful but he’s awful in them as well. Take this weeks ‘lottery’ to find out who is going to be the number one entrant in the Royal Rumble. He look like a bumbling old man without a clue how to interact with people any more. It was awkward, boring and rather embarrassing.
Aside from the fact that they were beating a dead horse with this segment, we get it the odds are against
John Cena, I mean, Roman Reigns. Didn’t Big Show say he was number one only a few weeks ago though?
Every week we have to witness Stephanie McMahon dressing down somebody on TV. A few weeks ago it was The New Day, last week it was Paul Heyman, this week it’s Chris Jericho. Can’t she be involved with any promo unless it has her emasculating everyone? She’s a heat killing missile, taking away anyone’s heat just because she can. What’s worse is she’ll do it to anyone, a face, a heel, a cleaner, a mic tech. Anyone.
In another classic throwaway Raw match we saw the team of R-Truth, Titus O’Niel, Mark Henry and Neville taking on Stardust and The Ascension with Tyler Breeze for some bizarre reason. I wouldn’t normally comment on this other than to say “oh look another pointless 8 man tag team match, how fun”.
However we almost saw something really cool. Almost. Titus O’Niel had caught Tyler Breeze from a cross body attempt, threw him over his shoulder into what should have been the waiting arms of Mark Henry for a Worlds Strongest Slam. Unfortunately Titus threw Breeze too high and he went over Marks head falling to the ground. Moment ruined, such a shame. Next time boys!
Natalya & Paige
Natalya is back, which would normally be a good thing. However she’s now returned as is best friends with Paige for some reason. Didn’t they have a feud just before Nattie got injured? Wasn’t Paige heel? Ah who cares, they’re only together to promote Total Divas. A ‘reality’ show that completely breaks kayfabe is being placed front and centre on the actually kayfabe show. Am I the only one who sees a problem with that? Kayfabe is long dead granted, but I still think WWE should be trying their up most to protect it where they can. Not promoting the lack of it during your main show.
The Wyatt Family Vs The Dudley Boys & Ryback
Did we really need to see The Wyatt Family Vs The Dudley Boys again? How many times has it been now? After an underwhelming tables match on Smackdown we got a 6 man tag team match on Raw. Again. It’s lazy booking. It’s boring booking. End it now WWE! Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight for this feud, just rinse and repeat every single week. Skip.