Just a few quick thoughts, questions, compliments, and criticisms from Sunday’s Royal Rumble and the follow-up Monday Night RAW, in no particular order:
First from the Royal Rumble:
- Compliments to Bray Wyatt and Daniel Bryan! Fantastic match, great crowd response, and strong early candidate for Match of the Year. Bray Wyatt displayed a great repertoire (at least certainly more than I think most thought he had), and combined it with his personality and character to very successfully captivate the crowd. Despite the overwhelming crowd support for Bryan, Wyatt’s win was well thought out, well earned, and the crowd seemed to approve and understand as well. Bray Wyatt got the push he needed with a win, and thanks to the technical and well-executed brilliance of Bryan, he was allowed to demonstrate the ability that makes him deserving of such a push. As the chants made clear, this match really was awesome.
- As discussed earlier, the pop Daniel Bryan is getting right now is insane. And no longer is it restricted to his own matches, but others as well! The early part of the Orton vs. Cena match was described best by the crowd: “Booorriinngg.” Then the middle was dominated by chants of “Daniel Bryan!” for no other reason than the crowd simply loves Daniel Bryan. The final stages of Orton vs. Cena picked up, and seeing both do the others trademark moves was pretty cool (I especially liked seeing Cena get the AA from Orton). The Wyatt’s interfering at the end was OK. Have to see where that goes to judge for sure…
- Brock Lesnar is a strong freakin man. Picking up The Big Show, walking around with him, and then tossing him, without much apparent effort: Pretty impressive. The match itself: MUCH less impressive.
- The Royal Rumble was kind of a let down, but still had some great moments.
- CM Punk was great, as usual, but his elimination by Kane was a weak way for him to lose. I know it contributes to a developing feud between he and Kane, let’s just hope that turns into something between he and corporate aka Triple H. Because CM Punk vs. Kane match at WrestleMania is really not that great to look forward to, and they could certainly do something better with Punk.
- The apparent elimination of Kofi Kingston, followed by his jump back to ringside was very cool. His high flying stuff is always great, and taking advantage of the “feet touch the floor” aspect was a great way to use him.
- Roman Reigns as a dominant force definitely worked. Setting the record for eliminations also worked. The attempted elimination by Dean Ambrose, followed by Reigns eliminating both other members of The Shield at once worked. Using the Royal Rumble to give Reigns an individual push worked. Using the Royal Rumble as a means of finally creating dissention in The Shield worked. Wait, it didn’t?!? (More on this in a second).
- Poor Rey Mysterio! The guy has always gotten huge ovations and been a crowd favorite, but on Sunday night, he heard nothing but boo’s. Why? Because he wasn’t Daniel Bryan! As the moment for the final entrant approached, the crowd began chants of “Daniel Bryan!” and “Yes! Yes! Yes!” in huge anticipation of what they hoped was coming. To their chagrin, it was just Rey Mysterio. He didn’t deserve it, but I’m sure he understood.
- Sheamus is back! He looked great, and more than anything else, it’s great to have another guy along with Bryan and Punk who really get the fans into it.
- Batista won. Boring. Predictable. Meh.
As for RAW:
- The Shield is still completely fine? What the hell? Their big gun threw out his two friends on the biggest stage in a match with WrestleMania on the line, and then they all come out the next night united? Seriously? This HAS to be something they will come back to very soon, or it’s a huge missed opportunity. You can’t possibly give Roman Reigns the individual boost he got from his performance in the Royal Rumble, and then just do nothing with it.
- What exactly is going on with the Wyatt’s, Bray Wyatt in particular? We know he got a boost by beating Daniel Bryan, and it seemed like maybe there was something starting between Cena and Bray Wyatt. But the Main event from RAW didn’t really seem to further anything all that much in any interesting way. If in fact it was a means of filling three other Elimination Chamber spots (including Orton defending his title), why would it be done so quickly and haphazardly? There is no real bond between Sheamus, Bryan, and Cena, and no real developed beef between Cena and Wyatt thus far. I’m sure something will develop from here in some way, it just doesn’t seem like this whole RAW episode did much of anything towards whatever that something is.
- Brock Lesnar is strong. He likes to hit people with chairs. Paul Heyman likes to tell him to hit people with chairs. Apparently this is tremendous superstar stuff.
- Where was CM Punk? He was not shown or mentioned the entire show. I suspect he’ll be featured on Smackdown with Kane. Maybe it’s a way of upgrading Smackdown during the buildup to WrestleMania. Still, if Punk is going to be somewhat relegated for a while, it will be a shame. He’s one of the few Superstars with both talent and personality that the crowd truly responds to. It’s a testament to his greatness that he can single handedly carry virtually any match or any storyline. It’s understandable if he’s going to carry his own, non-title related, feud into WrestleMania. I just hope it turns out to be with someone else with some draw and personality and diversity (in other words: not just Kane).
We’re on the Road to WrestleMania. There are sure to be many twists and turns along the way. Yes, most of them will probably be frustrating, disappointing, predictable, or dead ends, but the few right turns will be enough to keep us riding along right up to the biggest event of the year. Only 68 days to go…
Think you know what the WWE has planned? Let us know on Twitter at @thelastUShero