Jan 27 - Live Raw Blog
Royal Rumble Thoughts
How do we make this a standard blog intro?
It’s impossible for me to treat this like any other Raw. My Live Raw Blog might only be a few weeks old, but I doubt it is anyone’s surprise that the circumstances surrounding the Rumble have a dire effect on tonight’s Raw.
By using the word dire, I feel like I am writing a eulogy, pondering the future of WWE after an in-ring death last night. No, I was watching Royal Rumble 2014, not Over The Edge 1999. But somehow I’m sensing a sadness in the wrestling world all the same.
I’d like to go on record to say that I bought last night’s Royal Rumble for CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. At the end of the show, as much as my mood was sour, I couldn’t say I regretted the purchase. I was entertained for the entire event. The results of a match should never be a reason to regret a PPV purchase. At least, that is my position on things. What’s the point of paying to watch a show if the match doesn’t matter to you, only the result. Might as well wait until the show is over and read what took place. So, I can honestly say I got my money’s worth for buying the Royal Rumble off WWE.com.
I had a couple of friends over, and we were enjoying most of the show. But by the time Rey Mysterio came out, everyone dropped their mood down. Comments were about how out of the match the live audience seemed to be as well.
I won’t pretend I had an epiphany at that point, but when I woke up this morning, and honestly dreaming about Daniel Bryan not being in the Rumble match, I felt a lot better. The crowd in Pittsburgh last night voiced their opinion loud and clear. It started during the WWE World Championship match, though Orton and Cena deserve credit for working through it, and past it. Of course, the biggest impact from those in attendance was during the Rumble match itself. When the entrants started getting to around #25, the chants for Bryan started up. By the time Rey Mysterio appeared at #30, it was all over. I don’t know if anyone was cheering for Batista (who I will now call Botoxta until I accept defeat and it refuses to catch on) to win once all 30 entrants made their appearance.
LOPforums poster Cult Icon mentioned somewhere that if Bryan did not make an appearance in the Rumble match that the live crowd would shit all over it. I said the Rumble match would be too exciting, and that there would be some boos, but the match would move on.
I must say that I was wrong… for the most part. The chanting for Roman Reigns is the only saving grace for my prediction, because the live audience was still in the match, just not for who WWE seemed to want us to get behind.
I won’t go as far as to say WWE is doing this on purpose, but I also don’t think it’s a complete accident. Forgive my ignorance, if that’s what you perceive it to be, but I just can’t see WWE behind so incredibly stupid as to have not expected this. “Daniel Bryan” and “Yes” chants have so far interfered in how many segments that were meant to be for other superstars? From the Raw after WrestleMania 28, to the Title Ascension ceremony before TLC, the audience has been inserting their opinion on the Bearded one. With as many people backstage as WWE has, and as many vocal people as we hear about, do you not think someone might have mentioned to HHH, Steph and Vince that if they book Bryan the way he was last night that there might be some sort of revolt?
I just can’t imagine that none of this was predicted in some way. They can’t be that ****ing stupid. Just like they can’t be that intelligent to have planned this. I doubt they would bring back Batista to purposely look like a fool the way he was treated last night.
I’m still of the opinion that there is something more to this. Bryan might not have won the Royal Rumble match, but that doesn’t mean he’ll never have another shot at being WWE Champion. Is this planned? I tend to think that most of it is. I’m guessing those in charge believed what I predicted, that there’d be a reaction, but would move on and cheer both Botoxta and Reigns to see who was the better man. I know I sensed a heel turn for The Animal sooner than later, but I doubted that it would be the way it seems to be taking place.
Then again, lots of people are quite vocal right now on social media that are associated with WWE. Brie Bella might be a joke in many ways, but she wouldn’t be tweeting his displeasure with The Authority if it wasn’t some sort of storyline.
"Daniel Bryan should of been in the #royalrumble He should be going for the championship! We hear you all, I wish the authority did too!!! #yesmovement #yesyesyes"
I have no doubt that Raw tonight will be an interesting one, if only to see how the Cleveland, Ohio audience will undoubtedly continue to seemingly be the new voice of the voiceless.
What I am Looking Forward To
Live Crowd - I’m not sure if Cleveland has a history of being a smarky crowd, or one to go into business for themselves, but I have a hard time believing that any audience that followed the Rumble last night won’t continue to chant for Daniel Bryan. I expect every segment with Cena, Orton, Botoxta, HHH and Stephanie to have some sort of interruption from the ticket holders in the seats of the Quicken Loans Arena. Roman Reigns might get his fair share of support as well, though there is no doubt that this will be Daniel Bryan appreciation night for anyone not employed to be in attendance.
Sheamus - I was so happy to see him return at the Rumble last night. I am still baffled by the amount of hate he gets online, but so be it. I’ll say this: as much as people seem to be getting behind Roman Reigns as the new babyface, what does the Shield member have that Sheamus doesn’t? Sheamus is bigger, stronger, more distinctive in look, has a better history of delivering in the ring, has more mic skills… the only advantages Reigns has are youth and family ties. Beyond that, everything Roman does, Sheamus does better. Now, I can understand people are tired of Sheamus in his current face role (understand, but don’t agree), but it doesn’t change the fact that the Celtic Warrior is head and shoulders above most other guys of that size.
Raw Preview from WWE.com
Here’s the WWE.com 5 point Preview:
So much happened at the 2014 Royal Rumble that five points almost doesn’t even cut it. Brock Lesnar obliterated Big Show with a mezzanine’s worth of steel chairs, Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt delivered an instant classic five minutes into the pay-per-view, and John Cena and Randy Orton raided each other’s arsenals in an old-school match for the WWE World Heavyweight Title. But five points is all we have, so from the maybe-fracturing Shield to the definitely WrestleMania-bound Batista, WWE.com previews the epic fallout from the most exciting Royal Rumble in years.
King of the jungle - The Animal, it seems, has found his prey. Batista will indeed challenge for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania after outlasting 29 other Superstars in the Royal Rumble Match. As of now, that puts Randy Orton – Batista’s old Evolution teammate – square in the sights of the No. 1 contender. Will Raw bring the first face-off between champion and challenger?
He's back, fella! - Six months after a nasty shoulder injury took him out of ring action, Sheamus returned with a vengeance in the Royal Rumble Match, eliminating Big E Langston and effectively serving notice to a WWE locker room that has become a tad too comfortable about not getting Brogue Kicked square in the face. Of course, with no rivalries claiming his attention of yet, the playing field is wide open for The Celtic Warrior heading into WrestleMania season. Odds are the rowdy Irishman will seize the moment as only he can.
Cracked Shield? - Roman Reigns was the MVP of the Royal Rumble Match, breaking Kane’s single-bout record of eliminations by tossing12 Superstars… Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins among them. Given that Ambrose also tried to give Reigns the heave-ho only to be chastised by Rollins, it would appear that The Shield’s unity is in question for the first time in their collective history. Can The Hounds of Justice keep from mauling one another before WrestleMania?
Lingering Attitude - Yep, they still got it. The New Age Outlaws defied both conventional wisdom and … well, age, to defeat Cody Rhodes & Goldust for the WWE Tag Team Championships, throwing a new wrench into the already rollicking tag team division. Can “The Brotherhood” pull themselves together and keep their feel-good story running? Or is it up to another tandem to take out the DX veterans in the weeks leading up to WrestleMania?
Eater of Worlds feasts - Yes, Batista won the Royal Rumble Match, but the Royal Rumble pay-per-view was undoubtedly Bray Wyatt’s night. He got to make a vicious example of Daniel Bryan, defeating his would-be disciple in a furious singles contest, cost John Cena the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, and saw his Family throw down in the Rumble Match itself, eliminating a ‘Wrestling God’ and little bull before all was said and done. He has been around for nearly six months, but last night, Bray Wyatt truly made good on his famous warning. He’s here. What he does next – particularly where Cena is concerned – will be must-see.
Before we Get Started
I really want to make the following quote my mantra when it comes to wrestling. Thank you TeamFarrell, a.k.a. COACH for this one:
From IntenseDebate poster “TeamFarrell”:
I could not care less whether or not the story that they're not giving me could be better, so long as I'm enjoying the one that they are giving me.
Seriously, there is no better phrase to sum up how I should feel more often. I might not love that Bryan isn’t already on the path to the main event, but logic dictates that it’s inevitable that he will be in time. So why not enjoy the parts that I am not finding a complaint for?
Intro - Authority vs Bryan / Sheamus+Cena
Planned or not, the CONTINUING trend is Daniel Bryan being the focal point of Raw. How this is ignored by so many baffles me, but the truth is simply obvious. No, Bryan is not in the main event matches, but he’s in the main event storyline.
The Authority is still the top heel character or characters in all of WWE, and they’ve been harassing Daniel Bryan more than anyone else for longer than anyone else. I can never prove it one way or another, but to me it looks like this has been a long planned out effort to elevate Daniel Bryan. At this point, no matter who gets named for the Chamber, Bryan has already been made the primary focus of that match as well.
On top of that, but he just had the assistance of the biggest star in all of wrestling over the last decade, and Sheamus, who has spent the last 2 years being groomed as the next guy to take that spot with a successful run as World Champion on Smackdown.
And now he is part of the main event for a shot to be included in the Elimination Chamber. This PPV just happens to take place the night before the WWE Network goes live. And Batista has a spot to take on the champion at WrestleMania XXX.
Some things just write themselves, whether it was this afternoon or during the last 6 months. The WWE Universe just can’t be ignored. Cheers, WWE.
Real Americans vs Rey Mysterio/Sin Cara
Tough call on this one. I really think the luchadore team has a lot of potential to be a babyface combo that fans actually get behind. On the other hand, I see true main event potential from Jack Swagger, and even more so out of Antonio Cesaro. While the New Age Outlaws are currently heels as champion, the Real Americans have felt like the best tag team in WWE for at least 4 months. There is a reason that as soon as the Rhodes brothers moved past The Shield, the common call was for the Real Americans to be the first challengers. The tag division is absolutely tremendous, but of the current full time teams, the Real Americans have been the most consistent in performance and staying over.
So the right team won. If this leads to a tag title run, I’m not so sure. Because there’s another rumored “Real American” on his way back to WWE. We’ll see.
Plus, there’s a tag title match later tonight in a rematch from yesterday’s Royal Rumble kick-off show. I love me some tag team wrestling.
From defeating Chris Jericho in his debut at WrestleMania… to being eliminated by El Torito.
Some take that dive as a sign of his position as jobber. The problem is that there are only so many spots for elevation, especially at this time of year.
Thankfully, he’s been doing so well in the appearances he has been making, and is kept rather relevant considering how stacked the heel roster is.
During the Rumble, one of my friends compared him to Disco Inferno, and it made me think of all the more reason for WWE to create a TV Title. I don’t think too many parallels should be drawn to the classic WCW version, but in 2014 WWE it should be a title that doesn’t have elaborate storylines. Just a title for guys like Fandango and Xavier Woods to compete for in standard TV feuds that are only for a couple of weeks at a time.
Standard stuff here, even the Brock appearance. Honestly, it makes sense, as Brock made his intentions for the WWE Title a month ago, and all everyone is talking about is the 6 man Chamber, and Batista’s title shot at WrestleMania. Brock needed to get himself included to give direction to the title.
I gotta say, it puts WWE in a tough position when all 3 of these men were in the ring, Brock was getting the face reactions, not Botoxta.
Battle of Cleveland
Let’s go Ziggler.
I don’t hate the Miz, but at this point on the priority scale, Dolph is higher. Let’s hope more comes of this, but who am I kidding. The Road to WrestleMania is a tough time to find direction if you don’t currently have any.
From LOPforums poster “Blunt Force Balls”
Anyone else thinking when it's time for The Authority to make there mind up about Lesnar, The Undertaker conveniently returns?
Other than the grammar error, it’s an interesting idea. I just think it’s unlikely. I expect Taker to be kept off TV until Raw after the Elimination Chamber.
Rybaxel vs Usos
More tag wrestling is a good thing.
I just wish the Goldberg chants would stop. That match won’t happen. Goldberg is one of the notoriously terrible business men in wrestling. He doesn’t understand the business enough to make the most of his return, and would only take lots of money so he can win for his son. As noble as that may seem, it makes no sense to expect to win for a one-off match.
I understand the chants aren’t for the idea of Ryback vs Goldberg, but it is one of the things that gets people talking about such a lame match.
Usos with the win, which should help their case for being the #1 contenders to the Tag titles, especially with the commentary doing their job to end this match.
From LOPforums poster “StormDragonz”
So am I the only person who still likes Curtis Axel & Ryback?
Not at all. They are like a modern day Hart Foundation, with the mix of a technical wrestler and a brawler with muscles. And much like the original Pink and Black attack, they started out without much direction, but eventually found it. The tag division is going to be booked similar to the Divas division in that many teams/divas will be included in random matches while a champion gets more of the concentration, and once in a while one of them will be pushed as the next contender without much rhyme or reason. This is going to be ok, as a tag division with lots of random possible contenders is better than a division from 2 years ago when it was Epico and Primo against… I don’t remember. The point is that no one was memorable, while today’s division has a few capable teams, with a couple of others who have shown potential for the next in line.
I really should do another Rank ‘Em Up blog about the teams.
Kofi vs Del Rio
A month ago, this match would have been easy to predict. But Kofi Kingston has been on a roll, with the win over Randy Orton recently, and his highlight from the Rumble being a prime replay. On top of that, but what worth does Del Rio have with a win?
Alberto’s reaction to the JBL appreciating the applause was a nice ad lib by the mexican aristocrat, and hopefully someone backstage takes notice of the times the crowd gets bored with the action and decides to have fun among themselves. I know many fans hate how that happens, but at a time when the live reaction is driving the top storyline in WWE today, they should take notice for the midcard as well.
So far I’ve heard Kofi’s tights described as:
-Doink the Clown
-The turnips from Super Mario Bros. 2
New Age Outlaws vs RhodesDust
I don’t know if I want the standard teammates break up and feud storyline with Goldust and Cody. I would rather they stay as a team and add their experience to the division.
The Brock attack held off an answer as to where the Rhodes Brothers are headed, which is a good thing. Brock’s direction is more immediate and interesting, while the tag title switch just last night helps extend the angle over the championships.
And when are they going to do the HOF announcement they announced 40 minutes ago??
I still really like AJ’s bum.
That is all.
Hall of Fame - Jake Roberts
Interesting name to choose. Not because he doesn’t deserve it, but because he’s the only person Warrior has had an issue with since getting back in the good graces of WWE.
Sheamus/Cena/Bryan vs The Shield
Hot match for a hot crowd. The Shield really deserve so much more credit for rebuilding the tag division than they’ve been getting. The fact is that even without the titles, the 6 man tag bouts they had starting at December’s TLC 2012 showed how incredible solid tag action can be. Without those amazing 6 man tag matches that headlined so many Raw in 2013, I doubt as much faith would have been put into the tag division with the rest of the combos.
I didn’t type much live for this match because I was enthralled. I’m sure I’m not alone.
A bit odd for a match of this importance to end in a DQ, but I don’t think too many people are complaining. I know I’m not.
I enjoyed Raw, but I found a nice quote on the forums that sums it up nicely:
From LOPforums poster Cult Icon
Overall, probably the best show the WWE could have under the circumstances. There's hope for Daniel Bryan again, none of the matches were that bad (the main event was quite good), and ultimately nothing too disastrous happened.
Precisely. The fact is that whether this was planned out in some way, or booked on the fly 100%, the Rumble put a curveball in their plans. With Batista still playing the face (but not being treated like one), it’s easy to see that it was never expected to be a shitty reception at the Rumble. And that makes sense, because no matter how devoted we’ve become for Daniel Bryan, how stupid would it be for WWE to sacrifice one of their biggest matches of the year to a guy that’s not involved?
My theory is that the storylines are moving forward as planned. I highly doubt that the released WrestleMania card is going to come to fruition, but that whatever card has actually been in place will remain in place. Daniel Bryan is in no danger of being relegated to a midcard match at WrestleMania, nor was there any rational fear of that since SummerSlam. You don’t have the guy headline 4 PPVs in a row for the title and not expect him to at least remain in the main event, and that’s ignoring the reactions he’s been receiving. There’s just no logic to that, nor do I think anyone would be stupid enough to even consider it. Daniel Bryan has been successfully built up to be someone to headline cards. Whether or not it was always going to be the Rumble, Mania, or after that, remains unclear. It doesn’t change the fact that WWE obviously shaped his rise in some fashion, and we as fans latched on hard, perhaps harder than they expected.
It took some time after the ending of the Rumble event, but I’m still here, and I’m still ready to pay for the next PPV if all goes well. Will Sheamus, Cena and Bryan all remain in the Chamber match after the DQ finish to the main event? If so, who else might be added to it? What will be the next chapter of Punk and Kane? Brock. Orton, and Botoxta are all headed towards a collision, so who will come out unscathed?
There are still plenty of questions to be answered, and lots of excitement on the Road to WrestleMania XXX.
And on that note, Peace out
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