And so the norm is, every so often we get a gimmick-filled episode of RAW, and this time of year is no exception. Last night’s broadcast of RAW was all Christmas-related, with a scanilty-clad but festively dressed Divas match, a present-on-a-pole match, and good Santa versus bad Santa altercation. All in all a forgettable episode, but somewhat fun nonetheless.
It’s difficult with these types of episodes to push forward with the storylines, especially at this time of year. With the 2014 Royal Rumble looming come late January, just mere weeks from now, things need to start taking shape in order to build excitement for one of the year’s biggest and most prestigious pay per views. But we can handle a one-off episode with no real developments, and this holiday week we were treated to such. Here are 5 things we learned following this year’s Christmas-themed edition of WWE RAW:
Batista Is Set To Return
In a from-out-of-nowhere announcement, WWE announced this week that The Animal Batista is set to return on the January 20th edition of RAW. This is huge news – just in time for the onset of the Wrestlemania season and the upcoming Royal Rumble itself.
In all probability this will be the biggest name that we see return to WWE for the 30th anniversary of Wrestlemania. The Rock is too busy with his blockbuster film making, Steve Austin just won’t commit to another match at age 50, and HBK is still up in-limbo. The Undertaker will certainly make it to the show this year, but Batista is going to be your biggest name returning in 2014. It’s good for business, for sure.
The Divas Have A Nice Outing With A Terrible Finish
Where to start, where to start with this Divas division? This match on RAW last night was a 12 person tag match, with the largest possibility of epic failure in recent memory due to the inexperienced participants that compiled most of the match roster. But their performance was surprisingly well done, except for that terrible finish.
Brie Bella has come so far, and she can handle her own in the ring with any of these girls. Natalya is the most fundamentally sound of them all, but several of the Divas were a surprise last night as well: Alicia Fox, the Funkadactyls, and Oksana, for sure. It’s nice to see the Divas progress, but the overbooked finish with the Total Divas team arm-in-arm, going round and round in the ring was a huge mess. What a disappointing finish to a rather well-paced and performed match.
The Wyatts and Daniel Bryan: Destined For Glory
An excellent 6 man tag match featured the team of Daniel Bryan and The Rhodes Brothers against the Wyatt Family. The result was another fantastic outing from your WWE Tag Team Champions, now calling themselves The Brotherhood, and some nice progression in the Daniel Bryan / Bray Wyatt storyline.
While I am not sure Luke Harper and Erick Rowan are the most deserving contenders to the tag titles at this stage, odds are they are headed in that direction for the time being. But whats more intriguing is the development of the feud between Bray Wyatt and Daniel Bryan. This matchup has the potential to make a full in-ring star out of Wyatt when it’s over, and Bryan could ultimately steal the show, again, from the other main eventers on the card. Look for this beast to culminate at the Royal Rumble pay per view in January.
Bad Gimmicks Do Not A Great Show Make
Sure it was fun, but this week’s Christmas-themed episode left a lot to be desired. The Santa versus Santa match was ridiculous, the present-on-a-pole match was equally embarrassing, and I don’t even know where to start with Bad News Barrett and the Salvation Army gag.
That being said, it is something we must suffer through every year. Shows like these are entertaining for some, especially for WWE’s younger audience, as they are certainly the future of the WWE Universe. However, the commentators could take better care of broadcasts like this, if they would stop talking incessantly about literally nothing related to the matches, and instead put more focus on what the performers are trying to accomplish. But it was somewhat fun, nonetheless.
Big E Langston On The Rise
In the main event of this week’s RAW broadcast, Big E Langston was paired with the WWE’s two biggest faces and top household names: John Cena and CM Punk. A fantastic opportunity for Langston, the former WWE NXT champion, to have a nice outing amongst the big stars of the industry, and he did just that.
The guys did a nice job of selling and saving the hot tag for Langston at the match’s end, and the crowd was hot for every second of it. Langston is a star on the rise, and his reign as Intercontinental Champion will improve as a result of this weeks performance. The IC title has a long way to go in order to be restored to some type of it’s former glory, but if the WWE continues to believe in Langston like this, then we are well on our way to redemption and the rise of a new star in the WWE.
What say you fans? I welcome your feedback in the COMMENTS section below, and argue with me on Twitter: @davyshrader.