What you need to know
Bryan finally addressed the elephant in the room on Friday (and that elephant's wardrobe), when he ran down Batista's reception from the WWE Universe, and his fashion sense. Like the teenage girl he seems to be portraying, Big Dave could take whatever D-Bry dished out - until he ragged on his clothes. Then it was on, and with the help of Kane - for whatever help a man that The Beard has beaten clean at every turn can be - The Animal had the upper hand until someone bigger showed up.
Big Show is back, and Daniel Bryan is still his little buddy. Somebody, please, help them with that team name, though. Or just make Show go away again. Either is okay with me.
Christian and Sheamus continue to circle one another in a feud that may be being booked only for me. Each got a résumé builder of a win over someone who held the World Heavyweight Championship last year.
Just to prove me wrong, WWE has put the tag titles on The Usos. They've been on a victory tour of sorts since claiming the straps last week on Raw, which doesn't really serve to build up their next challenger, but sure is fun. The men they beat for the belts, Road Dogg and Billy Gunn, got beat up by a little person in a bull costume. But to be fair, he is the most over part of Los Matadores. And Main Event.
The Hounds of Justice just aren't themselves lately, at least according to The Architect of The Shield, Seth Rollins. He walked out on his partners in their latest battle with The Wyatt Family to drive that point home. It's unclear if it worked, but slapping each other around like brothers sometimes have to do at least got them to put their fists together again on Smackdown.
Luke Harper got a chance to talk quite a bit last week, but was still overshadowed by the upside down weirdness of his boss. The wounded John Cena remains their main target even as they continue to duel with Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Rollins. And unlike past prey, they don't think they can convert or redeem Cena...he just needs to burn.
Respect the Beard, Fear the Giant (ugh) won the main event by pinning Kane. Which was predictable for so many reasons: (1) Batista wasn't taking the loss, (2) Batista couldn't be called on to work the bulk of that contest, and (3) there was no way the Knucklehead was losing in his big return match!
What to look out for
Legends will be everywhere when Raw rolls into Jerry Lawler's home turf of Memphis, Tennessee! Hopefully that means The King will eat a finisher or two.
The Undertaker is on hand to answer Paul Heyman's explanation of his plans for revenge on The Dead Man from last week. Taker promos are always dicey propositions, but they can always have Heyman come out and handle most of the heavy lifting, even if Brock Lesnar isn't scheduled to appear.
While they didn't look great last week, The New Age Outlaws still haven't technically executed their rematch clause for the tag belts. Could tonight be the night they officially come after Jimmy and Jey?
Daniel Bryan remain determined to face Triple H at WrestleMania, and the COO is adamant that he won't face the B+ player. Will The Game yield, or will Bryan have to face reality?
And the Hulkster is back, brother, and this time he says he has a big annoucement about the show he's hosting on April 6th - WrestleMania 30!
What they should do
Like the boss said, The Shield are awesome at pro wrestling. So don't hate me for wanting to cheer them.
I can't be the only one who marked out for the culmination of the reluctant fist bump on Friday night. There comes a time when fans just want to support people who are really entertaining and/or good at their craft. Hell, it happened for Lebron James, and he was a bigger heel than Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns combined.
So why shouldn't here, a point in their story where they are feuding with a backwoods cult that kidnaps people, does things out of Japanese horror movies and has feuded with the two biggest babyfaces on the roster, be where we're allowed to treat them as babyfaces?
I don't want to suddenly hear "Special Op" booming from the loud speakers to cue a run-in saving Dolph Ziggler from Alberto Del Rio or anything. Or have Rollins show up tonight wearing a Grizzlies hat. Their edge has brought them this far, and it shouldn't be scrubbed from them.
But it's a relatively small thing to have their quest morph back towards our definition of justice rather than Triple H's.
On an episode of Raw on the road to WrestleMania, Aitch books Daniel Bryan into one of the gauntlets that he likes to make our boy run. But when each man scheduled to oppose Bryan's music hits, they camera finds them laid out backstage. Finally, Hunter calls D-Bry out and demands to know who's messing with his plans. Then "Special Ops" hits and the trio comes out while Triple H seethes and Bryan smiles as we fade to black.
The following week, Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns cut a promo declaring that they're not on The Beard's side, they're on their side. But they've been lied to and manipulated by The Authority (and Paul Heyman before them) and it hasn't gotten them anywhere but bumped down the card for guys like Batista while they watch monsters like Bray Wyatt get all the attention. So they're back in business for themselves, taking out whoever stands in their way instead of whoever someone else tells them to get rid of.
You wouldn't pop for that?
Plus, it makes the inevitable turn of one or more of their members that much more powerful. If we even get a few months of a Shield we can cheer unapologetically, we'll be that much more bloodthirsty when the betrayal hits in time to set up their feud at SummerSlam.
And we'll have a frame a reference for the eruption that will occur across the fandom when they put aside their differences and reunite in 2034 for WrestleMania 50.
What we're afraid they will do
After his last botch-tastic 5 minutes, I remain horrified at the prospect of anything that involved Hogan speaking in front of a live audience of more than 3000 people.
Are you ready to enjoy a three hour show without wondering if a certain Straight-Edge individual will be showing up?