by Billy Carpenter (@4CR_Billy)
Coming off the heels of an overachieving Payback PPV comes a RAW that turned out to be pretty damned important. Yes, the world is buzzing over the shocking turn at the end of the show, but there was some other stuff on the program that is worth mentioning to. Evolution’s woes, the WWE World title & the Money in the Bank PPV were all addressed and we were treated to some pretty good in-ring action to boot. Here’s the positives that I took away from last night’s edition of Monday Night RAW!
Batista ‘quitting’ the company at the beginning of the broadcast was kind of the direction I saw them going after the end of Payback. We knew he was taking time off for Guardians of the Galaxy and Evolution 2.0–as well as Big Dave’s second run so far–have missed
the mark. Of course, this would play into the end of the show, but I was fine with this. My hope is that they figure out how to better utilize Batista after this break. He’s had some moments in this run–a nice mini feud with Dolph Ziggler on SD! and his willingness to put over Daniel Bryan & Roman Reigns clean. I think he has more to offer though, and maybe we’ll get to see that in a few months.
The tag match between RVD & Sheamus taking on Cesaro & Bad News Barrett was a pretty solid start to the show. While I generally loathe anytime RVD is involved in a match these days, this match was the exception and that’s mostly to the other 3 involved. We kept building to Cesaro vs Sheamus, which I’m excited to see more chapters of. The ending means we’ll probably see a rematch between RVD & BNB, which isn’t my first choice but I’ll deal. In any event, there’s a seemingly maintained focus on getting the secondary titles over (for now) and I am pleased to see that.
Stephanie McMahon continues her quest to separate Daniel Bryan from the WWE World title and we finally got a resolution to all of this. Something concrete, which is all I really want now. At MITB, Daniel Bryan will defend against Kane in a stretcher match provided that he’s physically able to compete. If he can’t however, the titles go high above the ring and will be decided by this year’s Money in the Bank match. Either way, this title stuff gets resolved in a few weeks time which will hopefully see Bryan defending the belts at the show. If not, we’re promised a new champion via the MITB match. Is there anyone else ready to carry the title outside of Orton or Cena though? The next few weeks should be very interesting, especially in terms of who makes it into the ladder match.
Speaking of, Dolph Ziggler & Alberto Del Rio put on a hell of a 5 minute match which saw El Patrón earn a spot in the MITB match. I
selfishly would’ve liked to have seen both guys in the match, but I can’t complain about the action here. Both men conveyed urgency in trying to pick up the win and advance, which I can always appreciate. Their work put over the importance of getting to the PPV and I enjoyed every bit of this. I’d have liked this to go a little longer though, to be honest.
Adam Rose gave his best post-Krueger outing last night, defeating Jack Swagger once again in a rematch from Friday. The thing I took away most from this was that the crowd is starting to get into the gimmick a little bit. It wasn’t on the level of a Full Sail crowd or anything, but there were noticeably more people getting involved by dancing post-match. Don’t count the Adam Rose Experience out just yet, lemons.
The Usos took on Harper & Rowan in a non-title match once again. These 2 teams just click and this match was no exception. While we’ve seen this match a number of times, they never fail to deliver
and the Wyatt Family picks up another win. I’m assuming this secures them a tag title opportunity and I kind of want to see the titles change hands. It felt like WWE was starting to establish Harper & Rowan as a separate entity outside of the confines of The Wyatt Family, which I’m fine with. If they do pull the trigger on that rumored Bray face turn later this year, it’s time to start giving them some kind of identity outside of mindless zombies who do his bidding. Back to this, Harper cut a good pre-match promo and I liked the added touch of the empty rocking chair. Good action & pace til the end, where Rowan picked up the win for the Family.
Now, for the big talking point. The close of RAW was also the close of one of WWE’s best chapters as Seth Rollins turned on the Shield and aligned himself with Triple H & Randy Orton. My snap judgment was that I didn’t like the way it went down, as it really made no sense. Rollins was 1/3’rd of the most dominant faction perhaps of all-time and had just come off of a convincing win in The Shield’s feud with Evolution. So what’s his motivation for turning? There seemingly is none, but I guess that’s what next week is for. As for the turn itself, it was well done and certainly shocking (although I think it was telegraphed a little with him grabbing the chairs). He beat the holy hell out of Reigns & Ambrose and did his best to make this scene look as nasty as possible. The reaction wasn’t really what I had envisioned when I thought of this moment–I’m chalking this up to shock. The audience was left wondering ‘what the hell is happening?’, and not in a bad way. It’s something that literally came out of nowhere and left a lot of fans speechless. They were witness to the end of an era and an end to one of pro wrestling history’s most dominant groups. All good things must come to their eventual end, but this isn’t the end we envisioned. That fact alone is why there’s the reaction & debate that there is the day after. We expected Ambrose to turn–hell, there was speculation on Roman turning and becoming a member of Evolution. But we never figured it to be Seth, and maybe this was the most shocking way to do it. I’ve long said Rollins, in my view, would be the most successful Shield member when it’s all said & done. Is turning on Roman & Dean the way Seth gets there? Does he feel that he’s ‘evolved’ beyond the parameters of The Shield? I’ll say this: where two days ago we thought of Evolution as being the vehicle to get Roman Reigns over and to the next level, it may have just done that same exact thing for Seth Rollins. The follow up to this on Monday will be extremely crucial and the explanation we get has to be satisfying. If not, the WWE is in danger of killing their most over act in the last decade to give us a ‘turn for the sake of turning’. Either way, next Monday’s RAW just became ‘must watch’ and that’s something that the company desperately needed right now.