WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (Feb. 3, 2014) from the CenturyLink Arena in Omaha, Nebraska, featuring all the latest build to the upcoming Elimination Chamber pay-per-view (PPV) later this month in Minneapolis.
I missed the show live, so the reactions are abbreviated based on a viewing of a replay instead of the usual real-time bullet point quick hitters as the show moves along. Click here to go back and check out the live blog with complete results.
I'll just hit the major points.
- The Daniel Bryan stuff continues to feel contrived, almost at the level of Ryback during his run with John Cena and CM Punk. They never really wanted to put him over all the way, but they never really wanted to beat him clean and send him packing. The result was no heat for anyone. This is something like that. Randy Orton bitches and moans, The Authority makes a token statement like he'll have to face Bryan and the winner "MAY" be called the new face of WWE, and then Bryan wins and no one anywhere will ever end up actually thinking of him that way because, well, he's not that, they don't really think he can be that, and we all know that's the case. It's all just to satiate the want for it and hope to sustain that to keep him relatively hot.
- Also, when Kofi Kingston just pinned Orton a couple weeks ago, I don't think it matters that Bryan could do the same, especially after we saw him do it before. He just never does it when the title is on the line, or there's any real meaning behind it. And he always gets laid the fuck out after, damn near negating the whole thing.
- Going into this show, I liked the idea of CM Punk chants hijacking the proceedings because I'm generally a fan of choas, anarchy, and dysfunction. The effort put forth, if you can call it that, left so much to be desired that I couldn't have cared less by the end of it.
- Plus, let's be real: You can chant for Daniel Bryan and feel good about it because the machine is really and truly holding him back because they don't believe in him. CM Punk, meanwhile, threw a hissy fit and went home because he wasn't happy about the prospect of working with Triple H at WrestleMania, a match that ALWAYS should have gone to Bryan. This is a man who had a title reign of 434 consecutive days, defending that title in a classic with Chris Jericho at WrestleMania 28. Then, after he lost that title -- to THE FUCKING ROCK, mind you -- his next feud was with UNDERTAKER. He got to be a part of The Streak, and they easily had the best match on that card. Now we get to WrestleMania 30 and Triple H isn't good enough? He's not the main event so he's done and going home six months before his contract is over? And he's been phoning it in for months now while Bryan has been tearing down the house left and right and still getting passed over BY WRESTLERS LIKE PUNK? Why the hell are we chanting for this guy again?
- Also, was The Miz spot a rib on Punk? It had to be, right?
- Last night was the night we got the reality check on the New Age Outlaws. There was leeway given for the first couple weeks and hey, they deserved credit for having some decent matches at their age and in their condition, but we're to that point where WWE can no longer hide their inadequacies. They've got Cody Rhodes doing dangerous moonsaults off the top of a steel cage and Road Dogg moving out of his way just to get a bad match over. It was a good enough finish, but how much longer can this last?
- Batista vs. Alberto Del Rio might be the worst main event level feud of the past decade. I mean, Batista is rocking a nose ring. That's a real thing. I can't take him seriously. The only good thing he's done since coming back was stare down Brock Lesnar without moving a muscle, something that required him to do next to nothing. Are you ready for a big fat DUD at Elimination Chamber?
- Okay, I have to break my streak of that being my only talking point on the lovely lady from NXT. I did enjoy the way she was introduced by Santino Marella -- a nice little tribute to how he was brought on the main roster. Here's why Emma can be successful: she has a real, human personality. She's an incredibly cute, unbearably adorable woman you can't help but smile about. Like AJ Lee before her, you can buy in because she doesn't at all come across like a plastic piece of ass for Vince McMahon to gawk at. She's real, and she's worth our time because of it.
- The break up of The Shield is being handled incredibly well. I'm looking forward to Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose, and I'm even looking forward to Seth Rollins becoming the next Dolph Ziggler.
- Remember all those rumors about the tag team division taking a front set in 2014? The Prime Time Players broke up, the Real Americans look like they're on their way to doing the same, Cody Rhodes and Goldust are rumored to be splitting soon, The Shield are breaking apart; we're not gaining teams, we're losing them. Is this a bad thing?
- "Curtis Axel dies" should be on the script for every episode of WWE television. We might be headed for a Sheamus vs. Ryback feud, which I would actually be excited about. It's a HOSS FIGHT, for starters, and THE BIG GUY has to be on his way to working his online gimmick into his TV character, right?
This show wasn't nearly as good as it could have been.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts on last night's show. How did you like it, if you liked it at all?