The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 01/13/14
Live from Providence, Rhode Island this is the Raw Deal for episode #1077. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
I have some pretty cool news about my writing career at the bottom of this column, so check that out after reading the Raw Deal. If you enjoy my writing about wrestling it's good news for you too because I'll be writing a lot more!
Raw began with a Wyatt Family video with Bray Wyatt saying "he needed me" with the "he" being Daniel Bryan of course. He only hears Bray's truth and now he has a home. The Usos were in the ring for the opening match. I love that there's a match starting the show right from the beginning. More of that, please! The announcers for the show are Michael Cole, JBL & Jerry Lawler, who is back after being sick last week.
Daniel Bryan & Bray Wyatt (w/Luke Harper & Erick Rowan) vs. The Usos
Bryan was wearing his Wyatt gear again that looked like Duke The Dumpster Droese just like last week. Wyatt and Bryan were aggressive early on as they focused on Jey Uso in their corner. The crowd was chanting "Daniel Bryan" as he dropped a knee across the throat of Jey. Wyatt hit a big splash in the corner before bringing in Bryan, who hit some hard kicks. Jey broke free with a hard kick to the head and Jimmy tagged in for his team as he unloaded on Bryan with kicks as well as a Samoan Drop. The corner butt splash earned a two count as Wyatt made the save. Wyatt got dumped to the floor and so did Bryan. The Usos each hit a dive over the top onto Wyatt & Bryan. Big reaction for that. Back in the ring, Usos wanted to hit top rope splashes, but Harper & Rowan ran in the ring to prevent that. The ref rang the bell for the disqualification. It went 6 minutes.
Winners by disqualification: The Usos
Post match, Harper & Rowan went after the Usos, but Jey broke free and hit a superkick on Bryan for good measure. The Usos went up the ramp as they avoided an attack.
Analysis: *1/2 It was obviously a shorter match than what we're used to seeing, but that's because it was more of an angle than a match. It was about Bryan working with Wyatt, the Usos making the comeback and then Harper/Rowan saving their team from defeat. Simple story that works.
Post match, the Wyatt Family gathered in the ring and Bryan extended his arms again while the crowd chanted "no" for it. Wyatt gave Bryan the Sister Abigail for some more tough love. All four Wyatt Family members walked away together.
Analysis: JBL on commentary: "What the hell was that?" Exactly. The weirdness continues.
John Cena in action up next.
Damien Sandow was in the ring for a match. Two matches in a row to start Raw? Awesome. I can get used to this. They showed the clip from October when Sandow tried to cash in Money in the Bank on Cena, but he was unsuccessful. I remember internet wrestling fans were really angry that day!
John Cena vs. Damien Sandow
Cole called Cena/Orton at the Rumble "one of the most anticipated rematches in WWE history." Lies. Hip toss early on by Cena. Sandow hit a body slam and they went to break there two minutes into the match.
Back from break, Cena hit his shoulder tackles and spinning suplex. Five Knuckle Shuffle by Cena. Sandow fought out of the AA with a neckbreaker variation. Sandow applied a leg submission that JBL said Sandow is calls the Royal Arch. Names for moves? What a concept! Cena fought out and hit his full nelson into a neckbreaker move for two. Cena went for a move off the top, but Sandow blocked it and Cena hit a tornado DDT (new move for him) for two. Cena was shocked that wasn't it. Neckbreaker into a face plant by Sandow got two. Cena applied the STF, but Sandow got to the ropes. Cena was frustrated he couldn't win. Sandow applied the Crossface. Cena powered out of it right into the Attitude Adjustment. That was some very impressive strength. The match went 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: John Cena
Analysis: *** They have really good chemistry as we've seen in the past. I liked the nearfalls they had . Also give Cena credit for busting out some new material to freshen things up a bit for him. If Sandow's ever elevated to a top spot they can have an awesome feud that would benefit Sandow greatly. The announcers were talking about the match like it was amazing. It was good, so I give them credit, but it was only 11 minutes. What was cool is that they didn't have an extended offensive period for one guy. It was really a back and forth type of match. I hope Sandow gets some kind of gold in 2014.
Post match, Cena hugged his dad at ringside. Angle alert! Angle alert! That's what you should be seeing when you see him.
Coming up later it's CM Punk & New Age Outlaws vs. The Shield in a rematch from Smackdown.
They showed some tweets from celebrities talking about the WWE Network. A video package aired about the Network. I think it's a great idea and putting it at $9.99 per month (with a 6 month commitment) is an awesome deal for wrestling fans especially because you can get every live PPV for it. The archives are awesome too. It sucks for me in Canada and anybody that's not in America because it's only launching in America on February 24. The rest of us have to wait until a later time. We don't know when yet. All this advertising for it is just taunting me at this point! It arrives in 42 days with the launch date happening right after the February 24 edition of Raw.
Director of Operations Kane was in his office when Raw GM Brad Maddox showed up. Maddox said Raw was already in chaos so Kane told him to enforce the rules. Maddox suggested Bryan/Wyatt vs. The Usos again although this time it will be in a steel cage. Kane said it was a good idea, but that he was the only one with the key to the door that will be chain and locked.
Analysis: When I heard that line by Kane it definitely got the mind thinking. More on that later.
Big Show entered the ring for a match. In two weeks, Show is facing Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble. I expect a Lesnar win there.
They replayed last week when Big Show threw Lesnar across the ring.
Big Show vs. Jack Swagger (w/Antonio Cesaro & Zeb Colter)
Zeb's sign: "You're a BIG part of the problem." Show was aggressive early on with clotheslines, a corner splash and a running shoulder tackle that was kind of like a Spear. He hit a Chokeslam and covered Swagger for the win. The match went about 80 seconds.
Winner by pinfall: Big Show
Analysis: A short match to put over Show as a monster heading into the Lesnar match. Remember when Jack Swagger was a World Champion? Long time ago.
Post match, Show chased Cesaro away with Cesaro jumping over the security wall as he stood by the crowd. Colter was checking on Swagger, so Show intimidated the old man with the mustache. Cesaro tried to attack, but Show threw him out of the ring. Show wound up his arm and nailed Colter with the KO Punch. He winked before the punch for some reason.
Analysis: Why did the babyface Big Show punch Zeb Colter in the face for no reason? That's not the babyface way. At least it's better than the storyline where Big Show was broke.
It's CM Punk and the New Age Outlaws vs. The Shield up next.
Plug time: I wrote two articles on WhatCulture in the last couple of days. This one is about 6 Divas I'd like to see return to WWE and the other one was about Brock Lesnar's 10 best matches in WWE. That one reminded me of how much I loved those Lesnar/Angle series of matches from 2003.
Video package about Batista. Next week he returns to Raw. He's also in the Royal Rumble match.
The New Age Outlaws did their full entrance. Road Dogg did their classic intro, which the crowd loved and Billy Gunn led them to the "suck it" part. Then Road Dogg gave a nice introduction to CM Punk where he mentioned Flash Funk because it rhymed with CM Punk.
CM Punk & the New Age Outlaws vs. The Shield (Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose)
If Punk wrestled in a t-shirt it could have been Team Shirt vs. Team Vest here. Gunn started for his time and he hit a tilt-a-whirl powerslam for two. JBL said Gunn looks better now than he did in 2000. Keep in mind Gunn is wrestling in a t-shirt. I think announcers are contractually to say people look better than ever. Road Dogg hit his shake, rattle & roll knee drop on Ambrose. Punk made the tag for his team and Ambrose was fired up. Punk was really aggressive, but Ambrose stopped him with a boot to the face. Rollins tagged in and Punk nearly hit the GTS, so Reigns tagged in. The announcers made a big deal out of Reigns tagging in. Reigns won that battle with a strike to the chest. Punk avoided a charge and he hit a dive outside the ring to take out Reigns. Vintage floor to commercial break time.
Punk hit Rollins with a neckbreaker. Then the Shield took over and Reigns hit a running dropkick from the floor while Punk was in the ring. Nice spot. The slow motion of that spot was even more impressive. There were plenty of quick tags by The Shield's three members as they worked over Punk in their corner. The trash talking that Ambrose does during the course of a match is entertaining. It just adds to his character as a lunatic. When they went outside the ring, Punk threw Ambrose into the steel steps. Punk hit Rollins with a jumping side kick since Rollins was legal. Reigns prevented a tag and did the "suck it" to the Outlaws. Punk hit Reigns with a roundhouse kick. Punk crawled to his corner, but the Outlaws jumped off the apron and walked away. Ohhhhhhhh! Betrayal. The crowd didn't like that. The Outlaws walked to the back. Punk with a neckbreaker on Reigns. He kicked Ambrose off the apron and sent Rollins over the top. When Punk turned around, Reigns destroyed him with a Spear. Reigns covered for the win after 16 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Shield
Analysis: **1/2 That's an interesting finish with the Outlaws going heel on Punk. Fans will forget about the action and the hot finish because the most memorable thing was the Outlaws bailing on Punk. The very strong rumor is that it will be CM Punk vs. Triple H at WrestleMania. This finish plays into that since the Outlaws are buddies with Triple H. The announcers hinted to that angle, but didn't go all the way talking about it. I would expect things to pick up in the weeks and months ahead. The slow build is a good idea.
Post match, The Shield was going to walk away. Reigns wanted to do more, so they went back in the ring and hit the triple Powerbomb on Punk to knock him out. The Shield left while Punk was in a lot of pain.
Analysis: Poor CM Punk. Good angle to build him up as a sympathetic babyface.
The Wyatt Family did a promo. Wyatt said the last thing the Usos wanted was to be locked in a cage with them. Wyatt said inside that cage they find redemption and absolution. Bryan said inside that cage they find monsters.
Analysis: The monsters line wasn't an accident. Consider it a subtle hint.
AJ Lee & Tamina Snuka vs. Cameron & Naomi
AJ Lee is five days away from passing Maryse as longest reigning Divas Champion ever. There was Emma from NXT in the crowd with a sign that said "#Emmataining." I'm glad she'll be on the main roster soon. She's talented than some of the girls on the main roster. Tamina overpowered Cameron early on. Cole has to mention Tamina is Jimmy Snuka's daughter in every match doesn't he? I think it's in his contract. Skippy Lee tagged in for some skipping. She applied a chinlock. AJ knocked Naomi out of the ring. Shining Wizard by AJ on Cameron. Naomi never tagged into the match.
Winners by pinfall: AJ Lee & Tamina Snuka
Post match, AJ & Tamina attacked Cameron some more. Naomi went back in the ring to make the save. She hit the Rear View (aka Jumping Ass to Face) on AJ to send the heels out of the ring.
Analysis: Match was boring and meant nothing. Cameron barely had any offense. The post match save by Naomi could lead to her challenge AJ for the Divas Title at Royal Rumble although I have no idea. There is no current indication as to who AJ's next challenger will be. I think the most newsworthy thing was that Emma was on Raw and will likely be a regular soon. She's a talented Aussie with a quirky dance that is very good looking as well.
Backstage, Randy Orton was angrily walking around backstage. He was looking for Triple H & Stephanie. He said he wanted to talk to them on Smackdown.
The first WWE Hall of Fame inductee is coming up next.
In Kane's office, Randy Orton showed up looking for Triple H & Stephanie McMahon. He complained about Cena, Lesnar and Batista because he should be protected. Kane said all he can control is what happens tonight, so he booked him against Kofi Kingston. Orton was pleased with that.
Cole talked about WWE Network again by showing some praise they received from the business world. At least I'd rather hear about the Network than the App.
The first WWE Hall of Fame inductee in 2014 is announced as The Ultimate Warrior. They aired a video package for him. As a former top guy, even though it was a brief period, he absolutely deserves it.
Analysis: Ultimate Warrior is the first HOF inductee to get a DVD where they make fun of him for being an idiot (look up "The Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior" if you don't know about it) and then induct him in the HOF. I remember reading stories where people were saying he wouldn't sign that DVD because he hated it so much. Now look at him. This is why WWE thinks they can do anything to anybody and they will always come back to WWE if they throw enough money their way. Everybody from Bret Hart to Bruno Sammartino to Ultimate Warrior have all come back "home" so to speak. When you reach a certain point in your life you would be foolish to turn down an honor like that. I don't blame him for accepting a HOF invite. He deserves it. I'll be in the casino in New Orleans during his speech. Or Bourbon Street. I'm not sitting an arena listening to speeches for 3 hours when I'm in that city. I went to the Hall of Fame in 2011 for Shawn Michaels. He spoke for about 10 minutes. We had to listen to Road Warrior Animal and Paul Ellering talk for like 45 minutes. Not the best use of time. I could go depending on who else is invited, but it's not a priority for me either.
Paul Heyman was interviewed by Renee Young backstage as they showed a clip of Lesnar's brawl with Show last week. She asked Paul how Brock will fare at the Rumble against Show. Heyman mentioned the "Eat. Sleep. Conquer. Repeat." lifestyle of Lesnar. He said it was foolish for Show to pick a fight with Lesnar. Heyman isn't impressed by Big Show knocking around an old guy like Colter.
Analysis: Basic promo by Heyman to further the storyline. Lesnar wasn't at the show this week, so this was a good way to keep things moving. I think we'll see Lesnar next week on the last Raw before the Royal Rumble.
The WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton entered the ring for his match with both the WWE Title and World Title in his possession.
Randy Orton vs. Kofi Kingston
Orton was aggressive early on as he destroyed Kingston outside the ring. Back in the ring, Orton hit a clothesline and then gave Kingston a suplex that dropped him rib first on the top rope leading to Kingston landing on the floor. Orton slammed Kingston head first into the middle turnbuckle. Orton gave Kingston a superplex and then yelled "kick out of that!" So Kingston kicked out of it. Just like everybody else does. Kingston made the comeback with his fast paced offense and gave Orton a clothesline outside of the ring. That led to the vintage floor to commercial break, of course.
Orton was in control as they returned from back, but Kingston hit a back suplex. Then Orton sent Kingston over the top rope with a back body drop that sent Kingston crashing into the floor. After Orton threw Kingston into the steel steps a couple of times, they went back into the ring. Kingston tried another comeback with dropkicks, but Orton just shoved him aside like a guy that barely wins matches anymore. Orton hit some uppercuts while Kingston got a nearfall although it wasn't enough to gain control. Kingston fired back up, went for the Boom Drop and missed. Orton wanted the DDT off the ropes, but Kingston hit the SOS and that was enough to pin Orton clean? Really? Yes it happened. Match went 17 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Kofi Kingston
Analysis: **1/2 I will admit I had "Randy Orton" written beside "winner by pinfall" as soon as I saw this match. Wrong. It ran too long although the finish played into the story that Orton was too confident during the match. He thought he could put Kingston away, but he ended up losing to him because he was so confident. If you read my work you know I love 15 minute matches on Raw, but it just kept dragging and dragging. The crowd doesn't believe Kingston as a guy that can compete with Orton so they barely reacted to his offense. Then he won with the SOS, which is a move Kingston rarely wins with. It's so weird to see the WWE Champion lose a non-title match. It rarely happens in today's WWE.
Post match, Orton was freaking out about the loss. He kicked the steel steps around the ring and yelled at the announcers. Then he walked over to John Cena's father. He attacked him with a series of punches. It's not the first time Cena's dad has taken a beating for the sake of a storyline. Cena ran down to ringside to chase Orton away. The WWE doctor checked on Cena's dad, who laid their motionless. He's worked many indy shows, so he knows what he's doing.
Analysis: That was good actually. I'm looking forward to John Cena's dad getting a WWE Network show where he can talk about all the times he got beat up in order to build sympathy for his son. "Well John got beat up a lot, so I figured hey why don't I fall down again?" Great insight. On a serious note, I enjoy crazy Orton more than any other version of Orton by far. I'm glad he's back in this role. More entertaining this way. By the way, if somebody physically assaulted somebody in front of thousands of others I'm pretty sure he would be arrested for it. But it's wrestling, so we're not supposed to use logic.
After the commercial, they replayed Orton's meltdown. Cena's dad was placed on a stretcher and John went with his dad in the ambulance. We could see far too much of Cena's boxers during that scene. I'm just saying.
Goldust & Cody Rhodes vs. Ryback & Curtis Axel
This match is non-title. Cole mentioned Ryback's crazy tweets of late, which should tell everybody that they're a work even though some fans believe them to be real. I don't follow Ryback on there and never did. Not interested. The heels quickly isolated Goldust in their corner. They made plenty of quick tags. Cody tagged in for his team and he was on fire of course. Missile dropkick by Cody. Cody knocked Ryback off the apron when he was trying to interfere. Goldust also took care of Ryback. Axel tried to capitalize with his finisher, but Cody hit the Cross Rhodes to win the match for his team after 6 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Goldust & Cody Rhodes
Analysis: *1/2 Just a solid TV match to put over the champions. It would be nice if we knew who they were defending the titles against at the Royal Rumble, but there's no direction in that area at this time.
Rey Mysterio was shown walking backstage to face Alberto Del Rio for the 413rd time. I made that number up.
There was another Batista commercial that focused on his rise from 2002 into a top guy in 2005 when "The Animal evolved" as the graphic said. The graphic said "in 2010 the Animal was gone." Now after nearly four years he's back on Raw next week. Good video package like usual.
Rey Mysterio vs. Alberto Del Rio
Why not put Ricardo Rodriguez back with Del Rio? Ricardo's not doing anything relevant while his presence would help Del Rio. It hurts both guys to keep them apart. Rey wanted a 619, but Del Rio escaped to the floor, so Rey hit a seated senton off the apron. Back in the ring, Rey got a rollup for two and then Del Rio came back with an armbreaker while using his knees. Backbreaker by Del Rio for two. Del Rio whipped Rey into the corner, he charged, Rey moved and Del Rio went crashing into the post. He ended up on the floor. The crowd wasn't into this match too much. Headscissors by Rey followed by the 619 woke up the crowd a bit. Del Rio tripped up Rey when he went to the top. Hard side kick by Del Rio. Cross Armbreaker by Del Rio and Rey tapped out. It went about 7 minutes.
Winner by submission: Alberto Del Rio
Post match, Del Rio asked Batista how he liked his friend Rey Mysterio and said the same thing will happen to him. He said after that everybody will stop talking about Batista and will talk about Del Rio instead.
Analysis: *1/2 They gave Del Rio the clean and decisive win because they are trying to build him up as a threat due to all the trash talk he has done towards Batista. It makes sense to have him win this meaningless match. Next week I expect a Del Rio promo, then Batista comes out, kicks his ass, hits a Batista Bomb and of course the announcers will say he looks better than ever.
More highlights of the WWE Network press conference were shown. This video highlighted that all 12 WWE PPVs are going to be $9.99 per month. They mentioned there will be over 100,000 hours of digitized content. The cost of buying all 12 WWE PPVs before was $675 annually. With WWE Network it drops to $9.99 per month, so that's just under $120 annually plus all the other content. It's right there in the numbers. It's an awesome deal. Once again I wish it was available everywhere on February 24th instead of only in America.
Kane was in his office when CM Punk showed up. Punk wondered where Triple H was. He didn't like that he had to deal with The Shield and the New Age Outlaws because it was 5 on 1. If Triple H has a problem with him he doesn't have to hide behind others. Kane just told Punk that he could main event WrestleMania because he's in the Royal Rumble match. Punk didn't have a problem with being in the Rumble match, but he had a problem with Kane.
Analysis: A few months ago I thought Punk had a chance to win the Royal Rumble. Now? It doesn't seem likely. He's on a path to face Triple H at WrestleMania. I think that last line about having a problem with Kane could lead to Kane being in the Rumble and he'll elminate Punk.
There was a promo from The Usos talking about how they were ready for the cage match. I like how they filmed it with each brother taking turns talking.
Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs. The New Age Outlaws is on Smackdown this week. It's not a tag team title match.
They showed some New England Patriots sitting at ringside. I pick Denver on Sunday. Also Seattle. Just saying. Should be some awesome NFL games this coming weekend.
There was a replay of Randy Orton attacking John Cena's dad. Now Orton is in jail on assault charges. Just kidding about that last part. Only babyfaces get arrested in WWE. Cole said it's a "fractured orbital socket" for Cena's dad. Eye pain sucks, but at least it's better than anal bleeding. Right Jerry?
Wyatt and Bryan were already in the ring. We got the full Usos entrance. Kane showed up with the chain, padlock and key. Cole explained that you can't escape the cage through the door now.
The Usos vs. Daniel Bryan & Bray Wyatt (w/Erick Rowan & Luke Harper)
No tags in this match. Harper & Rowan were outside the cage. Wyatt gave one of the Usos a back body drop into the cage. Running dropkick by Bryan. Wyatt hit a slingshot into the cage. Bryan and one of the Usos climbed to the top and then Bray brought the Uso back in. Russian legsweep by one of the Usos on Bryan off the top rope. They went to break with all four guys down in the ring.
Back from break, one of the Usos hit a corkscrew dive off the top onto Wyatt for a two count. I think it was Jimmy. Bryan sent him into the cage and worked over the other Uso with a running dropkick in the corner of the ring. The Usos hit a double back body drop off the top rope onto Bryan. There was a "this is awesome" chant although to be honest it was pretty slow to this point. Wyatt used his power to take down both Usos. He went for Sister Abigail, but Jey hit a superkick on Wyatt before he could hit it. The Usos tried to climb out, but Bray and Daniel stopped them. Jey knocked Bryan down and then Bryan landed on the rope where Bray was, so Bray went down. One of the Usos landed on Rowan outside the ring to touch the floor. Then the other Uso landed on the other side of the ring. They won the match because they touched the floor first. The match went about 11 minutes.
Winners by escaping the cage: The Usos
Analysis: *** It says a lot about the tag division that they have the confidence to main event the show with a tag team cage match. I'm really happy for The Usos being able to main event Raw. They really have come a long way in the last year and their future is very bright. They'll probably be tag champs this year as they continue to ascend as a team. The finish was well done.
Post match, Bryan was alone with Wyatt. The crowd was chanting for Bryan. Bryan ended up extending his arms again while the crowd chanted "no" and Wyatt was happy about it. He wanted to hit Sister Abigail, but instead Bryan shoved him off. The crowd cheered and chanted "yes" for that. Bryan looked at them in acknowledgement. The announcers weren't saying anything. That's good because it let the pictures tell the story. Loud "Daniel Bryan" chants from the crowd. Wyatt was calling Bryan a coward. Wyatt went for an attack, but Bryan avoided it and hit a running dropkick. The another one. The announcers were talking now as Bryan fired up following another dropkick. Bryan hit a series of kicks with the crowd chanting "yes" for all of them and then a roundhouse kick to the head by Bryan. Harper and Rowan tried to break in through the door. Bryan took off his blue coverall outfit and he was in his typical red gear. He threw Wyatt into the cage a few times, which prevented Rowan & Harper from climbing in. The entire building was chanting "yes" for Bryan as he fired up in the corner and hit the running knee attack on Wyatt.
Bryan went to the top of the cage, sat on top of it and did some more "yes" chants with the Providence crowd that absolutely loved him. That crowd reaction was amazing. It was an awesome sight.
Analysis: That's the end of the "Daniel Wyatt" experiment and I'm glad about it. He should stay in this pure babyface role for a very long time. That's what the fans want to cheer for. His alliance with Wyatt only lasted for a couple of weeks and I'm hoping in the weeks that follow he mentions that he only did it to find out information on how to conquer them. If he says he did it for those reasons then he comes off as a smart guy in addition to being a very likable character.
I'm glad that Bryan went face now instead of at the Rumble or later. It's better to do it now, so they can book him the right way during this very important period. I said all along that when Bryan goes back to being himself it will be a big deal. I tweeted about it at the start of Raw. I figured it would be this week or next week. It just makes sense. Listen to the fans, WWE. They want this. Don't deviate from it. I'm not sure if the plan was to keep this angle going for weeks or months, but I'm glad Bryan is back to normal now.
The other aspect of this angle that's interesting is that Kane was the only one with the key to free them from the cage. Kane is the former tag team partner of Daniel Bryan. Kane was also somebody that took a brutal beating from the Wyatt Family and was gone for a few months. If it's revealed that Kane did this as a way to screw over the Wyatt Family that would be pretty cool. Of course Kane is in a heel role, so would be a turn for him too. They might be pushing that kind of angle or it might be nothing. I'm interested to see if they follow up on it. I hope they do. Either that or Dr. Shelby is an evil genius. Maybe that's it. Or not.
Here's the video of the last five minutes of Raw in case you missed it or want to see it again. Listen to that crowd come alive. That's pro wrestling at its best.
Some Thoughts on Royal Rumble Booking
Here's my take on the Royal Rumble and booking: I think Daniel Bryan should win it because he's the best wrestler in WWE and you can make a case that he's the guy that gets the biggest reactions too. Listen to the crowd. They should dictate what WWE does. They love him. His work speaks for itself. The thing is, Batista is coming back as a top guy that's likely a babyface that is a good friend of Triple H. He's proven as a top guy. He also happens to be 6'5" and 280 pounds of muscle, which is the kind of body we know WWE likes. To me it's a no brainer to put Daniel Bryan over for the WWE Title at WrestleMania. To Vince McMahon, Triple H and WWE's decisions makers who knows?
I want Daniel Bryan to win the Rumble and win the WWE Title at WrestleMania. I'm paying to be there. That's what I want to see to end the show. Will it happen? I seriously have my doubts. It's important that WWE makes the right call here, though. That reaction on Raw to end the show could make a difference. This "Daniel Bryan as a top guy" story that has been in place at SummerSlam should culminate in a WWE Title win at WrestleMania. That's what I would do. It's not up to me, though. We'll see what happens.
There are 30 people in the Rumble, but it's really the decision of Bryan or Batista for the win. That's why I'm VERY interested in this year's Royal Rumble. Are you?
Three Stars of the Show
1. Daniel Bryan - On fire. Great to see that again.
2. Bray Wyatt - He played a big role in Bryan's return to being himself. Awesome work by him again.
3. The Usos - So happy these guys are working in the main event of Raw. They deserve it.
8 out of 10
Last week: 6.5
2014 Average: 7.25
Last 5 Weeks: 6.5, 7, 5.5, 8, 7
It's an 8 out of 10. I don't give out 8's that often. Maybe a few times per year. I enjoyed this episode very much.
It was a wrestling heavy and angle driven show. None of the matches were that bad. None were amazing, but the ones that got time told a good story too. There weren't many promos. There were some backstage segments, but they all made sense. There really wasn't any bad comedy or Khali match that we had to sit through either.
I also liked the format of the show. Two matches in the first 30 minutes is a welcome sight considering what we usually get with a promo to start. The crowd wasn't hot for the entire night, but they were loud for most of it and for anything involving the top faces they reacted the right way.
This show is a great sign of things to come. Major stories are in place for key babyfaces like Bryan and Punk while the crazy, evil version of Orton has clearly returned. Even Cena's sympathetic because of his dad getting attacked. Add in the Batista return, Lesnar appearing regularly, the Rumble in a couple of weeks and WrestleMania in three months. Guess what? Business has picked up. It's the best time of year to be a WWE fan.
This was an outstanding show to set things up for what's going to happen in the weeks and months ahead. I'm excited for the Rumble, Elimination Chamber and WrestleMania. Bring it on.
Good News Canton
Here's some good news I wanted to share.
I was offered a paid writing job about wrestling for the site WhatCulture.com. It's full time money as in what I will make is like what I would get from a full time regular job. I can do this from home. The company is in the UK, but I can work from home and that's so cool. I'm pretty happy and excited about it.
They said they would want two features per day Monday to Friday (they love slideshows so top 6 type deals that are a few thousand words in length) and some commentary on wrestling news. It's definitely doable. I'm considered a freelance writer for them. In the future I can move on to editing, trying my hand at other subjects like movies or TV and so on. They don't really cover American sports I like such as NFL, NBA & MLB, so can't do that.
This doesn't change anything with my writing on this site because I'll still write the Raw Deal, News Update, PPV previews & reviews and some other stuff, so that's all going to continue. I'll be able to quit my part time job and focus even more on writing.
It's pretty crazy that after doing all this writing going back to over a decade ago that it could lead to something like this. I won't take it for granted.
Thank you for all of your support whether we've been friends for years, if you've sent me emails, Facebook buddies, Twitter acquaintances or just somebody that has silently read my stuff all these years. Please show your support by reading my work and everybody's work at WhatCulture.com, click on WWE and enjoy it.
I am truly grateful and appreciative of all of you because you make the choice to read what I write or anybody writes. It really means a lot to me.
Thanks for reading.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org