Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Raw Review: Sting!

This Raw was much better than the trainwreck that was last week's episode, but it's success hinged in large part on a very few things and the biggest of those was a hot return to the ring by Sting.  Let's dig into the rest of the show starting with the items teased in the Raw Five-Point Preview

  • Seth Rollins/Randy Orton--Rollins agreed to give Randy Orton his match at WrestleMania, but only in return for a match on Raw.  Obviously, they were going with the idea that Orton was heading into an Authority trap.  Problem was, Seth Rollins managed to irritate and turn away all of the members of The Authority.  The real problem was that no one actually believed that at all and it seems all of wrestling Twitter said, "Hey, The Authority is swerving Orton, aren't they?"  The answer is "Yes, they were."  Where things got interesting though is right as the plot was revealed, STING arrived and helped even the score.  This was really well done and while it obviously wasn't a full match Sting showed a real spark here as he and Orton cleaned house.  Really hot finish to a decent show and sometimes that makes all the difference.
  • John Cena/Rusev--The question asked was, "Where has Lana been?"  We didn't get that answer, but we got the fakest of fake Russian lawyers with a bootleg Borat accent.  It was brutal and I'd kill WWE for it, but the commentary team led by JBL pointed out that this guy was a fraud.  The segment was what it was and aside from the bad accent the only thing that really stood out to me was the "WE WANT LANA" chant from Des Moines.  Oh, and also that Rusev looked pretty sharp in a suit.  Good for him.  The usual disclaimer applies here where I admit that I sort of zone out when I have to be subjected to John Cena. 
  • Roman Reigns/Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman--Brock Lesnar got the best of this because he was able to deliver a really great promo via pre-tape which was some of the best Lesnar mic work I recall.  Heyman delivered his typically excellent promo although it was a notch below last week's.  Reigns held his own this week with what I would consider his most competently delivered mic work.  He was also sporting a new "I Can. I Will." t-shirt that had "Believe That" on the back.  Decent, the back of the shirt was far cooler than the front, but it made sense for where his character is right now.  He got a decent reaction from the crowd, but certainly not Face of the Company pop although I really think Heyman will align himself with Reigns in some swerve at Mania at this point so that may not matter that much.
  • Bray Wyatt/Undertaker--Bray cut a promo and while interesting as usual my enthusiasm for this match is lagging a bit in large part because we see Taker once a year.
  • Tag Team Turmoil--They are continuing to point to some sort of multi-team match with a short non-title match between Kidd/Cesaro and The New Day interrupted by Los Matadores and El Torito.  Nothing special.
The IC Title stuff was pretty much what you'd expect with a six-man tag with six of the competitors and R-Truth at commentary doing R-Truth things.  Champion Bad News Barrett, who is in phenomenal shape, laid out a whole bunch of folks with the Bull Hammer which was a nice touch as was him leaving with his belt for a change.  Really solid way to sell the IC Title match at Mania.  There was a sloppy Divas match between AJ Lee and Nikki Bella where Nikki got the win.  Big Show and Rowan had a confrontation which Show got the better of and no one cared at all.  Kane setup an impromptu battle royal as well which Mark Henry entered and entered himself in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal.  Miz punked Mizdown with the Skull Crushing Finale after losing to Ryback.  Here's to hoping that Mizdow's moment is him getting punked by Miz, but him standing up to Miz one last time.

Not a great episode of Raw, but definitely a step in the right direction.  Compared to some of the Raws since the Royal Rumble this was a work of art.  This one at least made it feel like we were getting close to WrestleMania which is a positive.