Nathan Weller reviews the latest edition of WWE RAW, as well as looking back on Sunday’s first ever Fastlane pay-per-view.
We are coming off an electrifying Fastlane, where we determined Roman Reigns would be facing Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemaina. We saw the face-to-face confrontation between Triple H and Sting – it is now official that the two will face each other at Wrestlemania. We had the Tag Team Championship changing hands, and Bray Wyatt challenging The Undertaker to a match at WWE’s biggest night of the year. Randy Orton, the Viper, also made his long awaited return at Fastlane.
This week’s RAW began with the returning Randy Orton. The Viper called out Seth Rollins, but instead got The Authority, minus Rollins. Stephanie McMahon tried to entice Orton back into The Authority but he declined the offer. However, they compromised on a business meeting.
Match One: Bad News Barrett vs Dolph Ziggler
This was a fantastic and highly competitive matchup between the pair. Ziggler and Barrett just seem to get better every week. Ziggler was able to pick up the win after hitting the zigzag.
After the match, Dean Ambrose came to the ring. Ambrose paraded around with the Intercontinental Championship that he stole at Fastlane. The actions of Ambrose just seemed to enrage Barrett. This might be leading into a triple threat at Wrestlemania.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler via Pinfall
Match Two: Prime Time Players (Darren Young and Titus O’Neil) vs The Ascension
This was a really slow-paced match which didn’t flow together. Young looked a bit rusty in the ring and O’Neil was not even tagged into the match. However, the Prime Time Players did pick up the win after Young rolled up Victor. This was The Ascension’s first loss in the WWE.
After the match The Ascension beat down the Prime Time Players
Winner: Prime Time Players via Pinfall
Roman Reigns headed ringside. He reflected on a hell of a month, first winning the Royal Rumble and then beating Daniel Bryan at Fastlane. Bryan came out and interrupted Reigns, confessing that he was booing on the inside when Reigns won the Rumble, and that he was one of Reign’s biggest doubters. However, Bryan congratulated Reigns for beating him at Fastlane and shook his hand, before departing.
Paul Heyman also interrupted Reigns, congratulating him on his victory but warned that he will not be so lucky at Wrestlemania.
Match Three: Tag Team Title Match: Tyson Kidd and Cesaro (c) vs The Usos
This was a great match, as both teams have great chemistry. The Usos are so energetic. Kidd and Cesaro have meshed so well in such a short time and they are the team to watch in 2015. Either tag team could have walked away with the Championships, but it was Kidd and Cesaro who retained the titles via disqualification as Natalya pulled Jimmy Uso off the top rope.
Winner: The Usos via DQ, but still Tag Team Champions Tyson Kidd and Cesaro
Bray Wyatt cuts another promo on The Undertaker, stating that The Undertaker has been reduced to a pile of broken bones and dreams.
Match Four: Stardust vs Jack Swagger
This seemed like a nothing match. During the match the crowd was chanting ‘Cody’ – this really got to Stardust and took him off his game. Goldust came out to distract Stardust, allowing Swagger to lock in the ankle lock, forcing Stardust to tap out.
Winner: Jack Swagger via Submission
John Cena came to the ring to admit defeat against Rusev at Fastlane. But, he preached that the Eastern European had a chance to prove he was a hero and failed. Lana and Rusev entered with the former claiming that Cena let his people and his country down and that, uncharacteristically, he gave up. The verbal exchange continued with Cena challenging Rusev to a rematch at Wrestlemania only for Rusev to decline the offer.
A fantastic video package of Sting’s career and highlights in WCW is shown, and how he went to war against the NWO. The video package also demonstrated what Sting has done since being a part of the WWE, including when he challenged Triple H to a match at Wrestlemania.
Match Five: Paige and Emma vs The Bella Twins (Nikki and Brie Bella)
Well, this was a very disappointing, lackluster and all too brief match that lasted just 20 seconds. Brie Bella picked the win as she pinned Emma.
Winner: The Bella Twins via Pinfall
Match Six: Curtis Axel vs Ryback
Again, this was another quick bout. Ryback looked impressive, but there wasn’t anything special about the match. Ryback did get the victory after the Shellshock.
Winner: Ryback via Pinfall
Main Event Match Seven: Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan vs Randy Orton and Seth Rollins
This was an okay main event. Orton looked good in his first match since his return. Most of the focus was on how Orton and Rollins would work together as a team – they worked well. However, Bryan and Reigns won the match courtesy of Bryan hitting Rollins with the running knee for the three count.
Winner: Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan via Pinfall
This was a solid episode of RAW, a good step to build-up to Wrestlemania;
- The opening match with Barrett and Ziggler was great, potentially setting up Barrett/Ambrose/Ziggler for the Intercontinental Championship at Wrestlemania.
- The tag team match between Kidd and Cesaro and The Usos could lead to something at Wrestlemania.
- It’s good to see Reigns getting better with his microphone/promo skills.
- The progression of the Star/Goldust and Rusev/Cena rivalries could lead to Wrestlemania matches.
- The build-up of The Undertaker/Wyatt and Sting/Triple H matches was another great move.
- The only low point was the Divas match, apart from that a good RAW.
Grade: B –
Image courtesy of Bleacher Report