5 Things We Learned From WWE Raw (3/3/14)

And so this weeks much-anticipated RAW, broadcast live from CM Punk’s hometown of Chicago, has finally come and gone, and with it, the WWE is actually all the better. For days now social media had been abuzz with hashtags like #hijackRaw and #Punkreturns in hopes of disrupting the WWE flow across this specific RAW program. And try as they did, the live crowd this week in Chicago could not really get the job done. But boy they tried, but in the end the WWE brass was just too smart for even the most avid wrestling fan, mark, and CM Punk enthusiast.

CM Punk walked away from the WWE following the Royal Rumble. With the plans set up before him by Creative at that time, he was being booked to again take a Wrestlemania main event backseat to another returning veteran in Dave Bautista. Punk didn’t like being second-fiddle, again, to another aging Superstar/Legend, so he took his ball and he went home. But this week, even the wrestling insider faithfuls like Dave Meltzer, were sure Punk was coming home and would appear on RAW from Chicago.

But most everyone was fooled. Alas, there was no CM Punk to appear on the broadcast, no resolution to the WWE’s missing top draw just weeks out from Wrestlemania XXX. What we were given, instead, was a fantastic outing of RAW that at several moments had the local crowd forgetting about CM Punk…and instead going all-in on the great action and storytelling in the ring. So let’s take a quick look at 5 things we learned following this week’s CM Punk-less RAW broadcast:

CM Punk Does Not Return
In one of the most anticipated RAWs in recent years, fans across the world tuned in and attended live with baited breath, most of them, and us, just sure that CM Punk was going to return to RAW in his hometown. And that didn’t happen. At all. Punk was a no-show: and this is either a disaster in the making, or some fine, fine creative work from the WWE.

Perhaps Punk is coming back, and perhaps the WWE is holding him out until that key moment when his place in Wrestlemania XXX will explode, with a story coming together against Triple H that moves Daniel Bryan to the ‘Mania main event title match. Or perhaps this is just a bad sign: Punk will not return, and the WWE will be forced to go it alone at Wrestlemania without their top draw.

Whatever the case turns out to be, it has made for some compelling television in the last few weeks. And this week was no different: just when you thought you were getting CM Punk, you instead got the curtain pulled down over your eyes, yet again. From Paul Heyman opening the show with CM Punk’s entrance theme followed by his own “pipe-bomb” style promo, to Triple H and company burying Daniel Bryan in the closing scene, again, the product on TV had yet to really suffer! WWE Creative seems to be learning that Batista is not going to draw viewers in with his return, and they are quietly capitalizing on the fact that CM Punk has all fans in a frenzy with his undisclosed status within the company.

The Usos Win Tag Team Gold
It was a fitting end to a nice rivalry between the legendary New Age Outlaws and The Uso Brothers, on RAW this week the NOA were unseated as the World Tag Team Champions. It’s been a nice run and revisit for Billy Gunn and The Road Dogg, but their time has passed and it was high time they officially pass the torch.

And that’s exactly what they did. Aside from Kane and Daniel Bryan, or The Shield’s Rollins and Reigns, and also The Rhodes Brothers running with tag titles recently, there has not been a real, substantial tag team championship team for years inside the WWE. One could make a case for the NOA being the last true champions during a time when tag team wrestling was still thriving inside the WWE. Sure Kane and Bryan were fun and it was great to relive Golddust’s recent resurgence, but the WWE tag division has suffered significantly in the past, and only in recent months has it started to feel relevant again. And so the hard-working, more-than-deserving Uso Brothers capture tag team gold, and are on their way to Wrestlemania where they will certainly put on a hell of a show for fans worldwide.

Daniel Bryan Falls Again To The Authority
You know, Bryan is just asking for some time with Triple H. In another great heel outing from Hunter and Steph, they cut Bryan down time and again on the mic this week, and then they had him beaten down, again, to end the RAW broadcast. The setup for the underdog Daniel Bryan is complete, with Orton even getting involved for good measure. It is only a matter of time before this pays off big, and look for that to happen at Wrestlemania XXX.

The pieces are now in place for Daniel Bryan not only to overcome Triple H, but to also be added to the ‘Mania main event match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. We can all only sit back and watch Daniel Bryan ascend towards his Wrestlemania moment, and for the Yes Movement to finally come to fruition.

Paul Bearer Will Join The 2014 WWE Hall Of Fame Induction Class
It goes without even saying that Paul Bearer is beyond deserving of being in the WWE Hall Of Fame. He was a true icon in the often-obscure world of wrestling managers, a world that is not necessarily ripe with many legendary characters. Paul Bearer was single-handedly responsible for putting The Undertaker on the map and ushering in The Deadman character in a time when nothing like it had ever been seen. He continued his bizarre, often perverse, run for over a decade, bringing Kane into the mix as well and establishing himself as a multiple decade legend of wrestling managing.

Paul Bearer is a fantastic addition to this great 2014 HOF class, and here’s hoping Mark Calaway will be his inductor the night before Wrestlemania XXX.

The Shield and The Wyatts Are Off The Charts
This phenomenal feud between the Shield and The Wyatt family will likely culminate prior to Wrestlemania XXX. With Bray Wyatt poised to face John Cena at the event, its highly possible Roman Reigns gets added to the mix and it becomes a 3 way match, leaving Ambrose and Rollins set up against Rowan and Harper. Whatever the endgame, what’s important now is that we all appreciate the ride these 6 men are taking us on. Their work together in recent weeks has been nothing short of fantastic, and they have all come into their own.

People, history is being made. The young NXT talent pool is coming of age right in front of our eyes. Like it or not, these men are the future of this business, and they are making strides well beyond anything any other performers are putting forth right now, save for maybe the great Paul Heyman. there is a talent revolution taking place on the main roster of the WWE, and we should all be so lucky to bear witness to the birth of such a promising future.

Fans, what say you? Let’s get on this Road to Wrestlemania, and discuss! Sound off in our COMMENTS section, and with me on Twitter: @davyshrader