Hot off the heels of a sub-par and dividing 2014 Royal Rumble PPV, WWE hit the ground running with the following night’s Monday Night RAW broadcast. This weeks RAW was filled with several great segments that have already, and smartly, started the build towards the next PPV, The Elimination Chamber.
WWE stood up and took notice of fan disgust with the lack of Daniel Bryan in the 2014 Royal Rumble match and their subsequent turn on the victor Batista, and they have decided to take both of these developments and turn them into story lines. This is an excellent way to make use of the mistake they made at Sunday’s PPV by simply rolling the events and results over into stories that can now play out on the Road to Wrestlemania.
This week’s RAW was another mixed bag of overall tricks, but we had several intriguing developments hot off the Rumble PPV. We now move forward towards Elimination Chamber, where we will get the full Wrestlemania picture finally coming into focus. So let’s take a look at 5 things we learned following WWE RAW this week:
Daniel Bryan Finally Takes A Stand
It’s been months in the making, as we have all watched Daniel Bryan fall victim time and again to The Authority and their wicked, unfair ways of 3-on-1 handicap matches pitting Bryan against The Shield or The Wyatts. B ut finally this week on RAW, Bryan took his disgust for not being included in the 2014 Royal Rumble match and headed straight to the ring to interrupt The Authority’s opening segment of the program, and he finally took a stand for himself.
This was a hot opening, and the crowd was electric for it. The caveat was Bryan getting in Triple H’s face and telling him they weren’t leaving the ring without a resolution to the way Bryan has been treated. And just as they got nose to nose, The Shield’s music hit and Triple H stepped aside. The Shield hit the ring, but Sheamus and Cena made the save, setting up a 6-man tag main event for later in the program.
WWE did the right thing, the smart thing here. They took the huge misstep that they made on Sunday’s PPV, and turned it into another hot segment portrayed as Daniel Bryan being held back again, but this time he had had enough. Of course, WWE will tell us this was the plan all along behind the scenes, but it’s clear that they have acknowledged their mistake, and are taking this ball and running with it.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts Will Go Into The Hall Of Fame
While we were all a little upset that Jake the Snake did not make a surprise appearance in the 2014 Royal Rumble match this past weekend, the WWE turned around and made things right this week on RAW: Jake Roberts was announced as the next inductee into the 2014 class of the WWE Hall Of Fame during the broadcast last night.
This couldn’t come at a better time for Roberts. He has really gotten his life together in the last year or so, thanks in large part to Diamond Dallas Page and his wellness/yoga program and lifelong friendship . Jake also has a podcast which you can find online, and has managed to improve the relationships with his family as well in recent years. If you were ever unclear as to just how bad things became for Roberts, have a look at the film Beyond The Mat by Barry Blaustein. Roberts has resurrected himself, and he is a Superstar who couldn’t be more deserving of the Hall Of Fame honor.
Brock Lesnar Wants WWE Gold
Of course he, or better yet Paul Heyman, made it very clear that (Brock Lesnar) has returned to the company to take the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from Randy Orton. After dispatching The Big Show at the Rumble PPV this past weekend, Lesnar returned to RAW this week with his ultimate goal still in plain sight: WWE gold.
Lesnar immediately laid out an ultimatum to challenge for the title, and was loudly ignored by The Authority. Calling for a match with the new #1 contender and 2014 Rumble winner Batista and/or WWE champ Randy Orton, Lesnar’s demand was eventually dismissed, and he subsequently took his frustration out on the former WWE Tag Team Champions, The Rhodes Brothers. While it would have made more sense for Lesnar to attack Triple H’s buddies The New Age Outlaws, this segment still worked and served it’s purpose. It’s great to see Lesnar this active on weekly programming even though we are still 60+ days out from Wrestlemania.
The Elimination Chamber Match Begins To Take Shape
WWE is not wasting any time in gearing up for their final PPV before Wrestlemania XXX, The Elimination Chamber. This week on RAW they immediately began putting the card together, by starting on the final match’s plans that will air on that broadcast, an Elimination Chamber match for the WWE World Heavyweight Title. Raw’s 6 man tag team main event winners this week were immediately placed in this match for the title at the upcoming PPV.
So we already have Sheamus, John Cena, Daniel Bryan, and Randy Orton in the main event set for the next PPV, and we are only one day removed from the previous WWE PPV event. WWE seems to be learning that PPV prep is important, particularly while we are enroute to Wrestlemania. This is another smart move by WWE, and it seems they have learned from mistakes in recent months of throwing a PPV card together at the last minute and without any real hype at all. By moving so quickly towards the Elimination Chamber main event this soon, we will have several weeks to build the hype and enhance the story for the final payoff before we move on to Wrestlemania XXX.
The WWE Mid-Card: How We Loathe Thee
Time and again in our 5 Things column, we have discussed the WWE mid card. Most of the time it’s in shambles, disorganized and somewhat lifeless, with no real direction. Other times, however, it’s been strong and improving, something we can sink our teeth into and get behind. But right now, it’s just simply the former: the mid-card has more issues than we know where to begin with.
Do you care about Xavier Woods? What about Fandango? And what The Usos? Curtis Axel? And what about Dolph Ziggler? And the WWE was doing such a great job recently of getting behind the tag team division recently, then they go and put the belts on the ancient New Age Outlaws and begin the break-up of the top performing Brotherhood. On top of that, you have the WWE trying to get Xavier Woods over, Kofi Kingston may or may not be in line for a push, and so on and so forth. This is character disarray at its finest.
The problem is now we have too many big name acts in play here at the start of Wrestlemania season, and the mid-card is losing it’s focus from WWE Creative. With Randy Orton an uncompelling champion, John Cena seemingly out there just to be out there, and now the return of Batista, Brock Lesnar, and Sheamus all back into the fold, there appears to be too much going on for anyone to be able to get it right. Let’s hope they can fix it, because the future of the WWE post-Wrestlemania XXX depends on their successes now.
What say you, wrasslin’ fans? Sound off below in our COMMENTS section, and with me on Twitter: @davyshrader.