by Billy Carpenter (@4CR_Billy)
It’s been a few weeks, but look who’s back with 4CReaction? And honestly, how could I sit through the most exhilarating RAW in a long, long time and NOT write the Reaction? Real quick, for those who aren’t familiar—4CReaction is my overall take on a show. 4CReview is the more traditional-style match by match breakdown, normally reserved for the ‘B’ shows. With that out of the way, let’s jump into this week’s Monday Night RAW!
There was certainly a buzz tonight, not out of the norm over the last few years. But coming off of an all-time great WrestleMania, there seemed to be just a little extra. Tonight’s RAW shattered expectations and some are saying it was better than ‘Mania! Tons of new developments, new faces, new stories and a new energy are the story of this year’s post-Mania RAW.
Daniel Bryan kicking off the show was so fitting and to me, so necessary. I feel that the overwhelming shock of The Undertaker falling to Brock Lesnar at WM sort of took away from Bryan’s moment a little bit in terms of crowd reaction. Tonight though, after getting that awesome video package, the crowd gave Bryan a reaction that almost had him in tears. I can’t think of many people who’ve come along that deserve this spot more than Daniel Bryan.
Triple H figures to be a thorn in his side for awhile and this might be the one time that they can re-create Austin/McMahon as a feud and it’ll actually work. They’ve tried numerous times but it’s always fallen flat. But as much as the people love Bryan, they hate Stephanie & Triple H just as much. H says he’s wrestling Bryan for the title later and of course, we’ll discuss all of that a little later on.
I said this on Twitter but I think it bears repeating: guys, Bray Wyatt is gonna be a-ok after losing at ‘Mania. How electric was the crowd for this?! It was awesome, chill-inducing, goosebump-producing stuff and the crowd was marvelous for this match. Bray came out looking awesome and his sights are still set on John Cena. The point that people are missing with all of this is just how much Cena has altered his character in his interactions with Wyatt. Cena may have won at ‘Mania, but his character still fears Wyatt. Just look at his expression in the aisle at the end of the match. Wyatt has made Cena the most interesting he’s been since he donned throwback jerseys and a chain with a padlock. When this story is finished, I see Bray coming out on top. After all, he’s got the whoooollleee world…in his haaaands….
One thing I definitely took away from tonight is just how important NXT looks now. For so long, it was just the ‘feeder system’, although most of you reading this know just how good the show’s been all this time. Tonight was a ringing endorsement for NXT: the reaction to the Bo Dallas promos, the ‘Adam Rose Experience’, Alexander Rusev crushing Zack Ryder, Emma getting some shine and PAIGE finally arriving. But she did more than arrive tonight—she beat the queen of the Divas division, AJ Lee, and walked out of the Smoothie King Center the new Divas champion. The pop she got when her music hit was A-MAZING—one of the biggest I can remember in years. A true star was born in the Divas division tonight, and it may be that they now have two ladies to carry the division a la Trish Stratus & Lita. Let’s see how the rest of the pieces fit around these 2 and we might be heading into resurgence of sorts amongst the Divas division.
How about Cesaro? What an amazing few days this guy has had. Freeing himself for good from Zeb Colter and becoming the new “Heyman Guy”? Amazing. Speechless. This isn’t a Curtis Axel or Ryback deal…this is what Cesaro needed to go next level. Already an amazing in-ring performer and now he’s aligned himself with the greatest and most successful manager in pro-wrestling history. The seeds had been planted for a Real Americans split some time ago but instead of getting the expected Cesaro face turn, we got something so very special. This is what takes Cesaro to the main event and firmly plants him there—new ring jacket and all!
Poor Rey Mysterio. Once beloved by the fans…but I’m afraid I’ve got some BAD NEWS!
Not everything was a home run though. I’m so over RVD and his random returns at this point. His appearance did nothing for me. The Santino/Emma story is still a thing, JBL still calls Daniel Bryan some form of farm animal every week, the value of the tag team championship was undermined in a backstage promo, and no real follow up to Brock ending the Streak?! Yeah, there was a godly promo by Paul Heyman but I wanted there to be something more. Brock just eclipsed DiMaggio’s hitting streak, outscored Wilt Chamberlain, surpassed Jack Nicklaus’ title wins—he attained the unattainable–he found the Holy Grail—he defeated The Undertaker at ‘Mania and BROKE THE STREAK. There should’ve been more to his moment tonight, in my opinion. But hey, that promo though:
The Ultimate Warrior’s promo was something else, wasn’t it? How surreal it was to see him on RAW after all this time. It was truly something I never thought I’d see again, right up there with Bruno & Bret coming back. Warrior in all of his glory:
Finally, how awesome was the end of RAW tonight? You had the old guard (HHH, Kane, Randy Orton & Batista) on one side and the new guard (credit: Ant) on the other. Captivating television to close out the show with the Shield completing their turn and the new WWE champion Daniel Bryan standing tall:
(the video is terrible, but it’s all I could find as of this writing)
I had started a piece after WrestleMania 30 went off the air titled ‘Where It All Begins Again…Again’. The WWE just put on what I’ve said is a top 3-5 ‘Mania of all-time and the implications that could come from that show starting tonight could make this year’s the greatest of all-time when all is said & done. The Undertaker is more than likely gone. John Cena may never be in true title contention again. Big Show is winding down, as is Mark Henry. In their place, look at the names that were the most prominent this WrestleMania weekend: Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, The Usos, Cesaro, Paige, Bray Wyatt and your new WWE World Heavyweight title holder Daniel Bryan. Plus with the debut promo spots we got tonight (Bo Dallas, Adam Rose) and the main roster’s first taste of Alexander Rusev, the landscape of this company is starting to really change. This isn’t just a teased or half-assed attempt to quell the audience or to “outsmark” the IWC—this is real, tangible change. You can feel it. You can see it. This year could be one of the most memorable in company history and this is one of the best times to be a WWE fan in a long time. Sure, there will be many other bloggers & podcasters who will do their damndest to convince you that this is just part of the “Mania Weekend Magic” and it’ll all come crashing down in a few weeks. To them I say “open your eyes”. The future is starting to emerge and claim their spot. They’re ready to be the main event. It’s about to get exciting and thank God I’m a wrestling fan. Can’t wait to see what next week brings us.