WWE RAW – Fork in the Road to WrestleMania 02/02/15

I had a lot of free time today so I thought I would give a new RAW Review Blog a test run... if the Duders like it then let me know. A little bit of warning though, I am an extremely positive person when it comes to wrestling. I love the entertainment value and having been watching since I was 4 years old (over 25 years now) I have always felt that way. I tend to be more optimistic about the product than most on the internet.

I want to start this blog off by saying that I loved this episode of RAW tonight. The opening segment rubbed me a little bit the wrong way but it was made up by great storytelling throughout the remainder of the show. I had zero issue with Roman Reigns winning the Royal Rumble, he got a positive reaction tonight, and they Rumble has been used in the past to make a guy. You have an up and comer win it and then go on to Mania and win the title, see Batista in ’05 as the most recent example and he turned out just fine; I mean after that win he proceeded to have a 5 year run on top. I feel like Reigns should have went on, and still may, to WM31 and take down Lesnar to become the next “guy” in the WWE but I’m more concerned right now with what went on tonight.

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Everyone in the opening segment did a good job, I’m still amazed at how awesome Seth Rollins is on the mic now, and it set up the rest of the show perfectly. It did make Reigns look a bit dumb to just hand over his guaranteed spot at Mania for opportunity to face a top-tier contender for it but I just write that off as wrestling. The segment with Hunter and Steph afterwards didn’t do Reigns any favors, they basically said he was an idiot for doing it; I hope they’re not losing faith in him because of some vocal smarks. The more casual WWE fans still buy his shirts and scream their heads off when Roman’s music hits.

Dean Ambrose coming out and beating down Curtis Axel while declaring that he wanted the Intercontinental Title was a nice touch, it added some legitimacy to the IC belt and has me really looking forward to a program between himself and Barrett. The same part of me that loves the fact that the driving force behind a program between Wade and Dean is the same part that wishes the US Title was on the line when Rusev and Cena lock up. Even if the title is below Cena it would at least make it look better if there was a chance that the biggest WWE star of the last 10 years had a chance to win it at the PPV.

The road to the split between Miz and Mizdow is underway and I love it. Mizdow has been one of the most entertaining characters in the entire company for the last 6 months and the moment when he snaps and drops the Miz will be a huge pop. I hope it happens at Mania because that crowd will go insane and make it a major moment. The tease between Stardust and Goldust has me a little less excited. I love both guys and maybe the team has run its course just a little bit but I loved the tag matches they have had over the last year and a half. I hope if the split between the bros does happen that Stardust goes back to being Cody because he’s a really talented dude who makes the best of every situation he is put in.

I thought the Harper vs Ryback match was really good. They hit each other hard and The Big Guy picked up a nice win on TV. I wish they would do a little bit more with Harper, he has such an interesting look and can really go in the ring, he deserves a little bit higher spot on the card in my opinion.

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Bray Wyatt v Dolph Ziggler was incredible. It was my Match of the Night. I honestly could watch these two guys for the next 3 months if that was the program, and I really hope they have something cool planned for Dolph because he’s amazing, but we all know that isn’t he plan thanks to that Wyatt interview segment later in the show after he picked up the win over Ziggler. He had some cryptic things to say and many speculate, myself included, that they were directed straight at the Undertaker which I am more than thrilled for. It could be the show stealer at Mania because you know that Bray will bring everything he has into the biggest match of his career to this point and if he’s going to be there we all know that Taker will be on his A+ game.

Cesaro and Tyson Kidd are great. I love them as a tag-team or as singles… that is all, they are fantastic!!!!

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I loved the backstage segment with Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan. Reigns has added some really subtle tweaks to his persona lately that makes him seem more like a badass which is what people really liked about him when he was in The Shield. Bryan was great as always, he knows who he is and he is great at it. In a way it seemed as though there was a bit of a heel tease with Reigns during this and even in the opening promo with everyone in the ring. He's still getting a pretty good response so I'm not sure that a heel turn is a good move, if that even is the plan, he may get white hot between now and Fast Lane or Mania. I don't know... Vince knows more than me, he's made a billion dollars doing this stuff.

Seth Rollins vs Daniel Bryan was a really good match. It seemed like they held back just a tad which is understandable because the match was there to setup Bryan vs Reigns at Fast Lane but Rollins once again showed why he deserves the top spot that he has been placed in. That guy was the WWE MVP in 2014… everything he did was gold. It made sense to have Reigns cost Seth the match after that monster spear on the Big Show since Rollins cost him his match earlier on in the night. Side note, I really hope there is no more Show and Reigns matches, I enjoy them but they do no favors for Reigns, we need to see Roman throw around some smaller guys over these next couple of weeks to show what he could do to Bryan at the PPV. There's no denying that Bryan is the most over babyface in the company so will they be forced to turn Roman because it may be a sink or swim moment for him.

I was a little disappointed that we didn’t see Randy Orton pop up and hit an RKO on Rollins after what seemed to be the tease during the backstage segment with The Authority but I expect he will make his appearance soon enough since it is rumored that he’ll be in there with Rollins at WrestleMania.

Overall this was a great RAW with some really good matches and cool set-up for Fast Lane and WrestleMania. Daniel Bryan vs Roman Reigns for the chance to be the man who faces Lesnar at WM31 will be a great match and will it’ll be extremely interesting to hear how the crowd reacts to both guys.

Match of the Night: Bray Wyatt vs Dolph Ziggler