WWE Monday Night Raw Review - March 3rd, 2014
CM Punk's music hits to open the show. I had been awaiting his return so I immediately jumped out of my seat, only to see Paul Heyman walk out to huge boos. Brilliant move by WWE putting Heyman in this role. Heyman proceeds to sit in the middle of the ring and tells Chicago who is already chanting "CM Punk" to chant it louder. At this point, I'm thinking - wait a minute, is Punk back with Heyman?! Heyman then says he is going to give a pipebomb on why CM Punk left and throws a huge swerve by saying the reason Punk left is because of the fans. After this, Heyman transitions the subject of his promo to Brock Lesnar. Heyman says that he wants to conquer The Undertaker's streak and that Brock Lesnar is the only man to do it. Heyman introduces Lesnar and they are soon confronted by Mark Henry. Lesnar beats the shit out of Henry and F5's him through the announce table. Awesome opening to Raw. Heyman was gold on the mic and told a great story. Lesnar did his job in providing an exciting action packed start to the show.
1) New Age Outlaws vs. The Usos - WWE Tag Team Championship Match
I was really looking forward to this match as I felt it was finally The Usos' time to shine. One thing that worried me was how the crowd would act. Luckily, they didn't chant for Punk once during this bout. Instead they got heavily behind The Usos. This was a great match with The Usos' impressive moveset being the highlight. The Usos FINALLY win the tag team titles here by defeating the New Age Outlaws! Amazing moment! The crowd popped big for that one!
Match rating - 7/10
2) Big E vs. Cesaro
In a rematch from last week, we saw the same outcome except the match didn't last as long. About three minutes in, Swagger interferes after Big E punched him at ringside. Big E wins via DQ.. again. I understand that they want to further tension between Swagger & Cesaro, but they could have came up with a more innovative way than exactly what they did last week. None the less it was a solid segment that served its purpose. Only lasted about five minutes.
3) The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family
After The Shield & The Wyatt Family stole the show at Elimination Chamber, we got a rematch here. While it wasn't awesome as their match at Elimination Chamber, it was still amazing. These six guys are why I'm so excited for the future of WWE. Seth Rollins went crazy at the beginning by diving out of both sides of the ring and doing flips. He continues to impress me. Reigns hit an unbelievable drop kick off the floor which caught Rowan who was on the second rope. Another amazing moment was seeing Luke Harper dive out of the ring, the big guy can move! Reigns speared Rowan over the announce table nearly landing in JBL's lap. So much action. Another awesome match from these two teams. Put on a great match and told a good story at the same time.
Match rating - 9/10
4) Fandango & Summer Rae vs. Santino & Emma
After all the action in the last match, this was a nice cool down match. Normally I don't like gimmicks like Emma's, but I actually am a big fan of her. Great change of pace. Fun match. Glad to see Emma getting to showcase her skills on the main roster.
Match rating - 5/10
5) Sheamus vs. Christian
The fact that we've seen this match so many times dampered my enjoyment of it, but none the less it was a good match. Sheamus and Christian have great chemistry together and always put on solid matches as was the case here. Afterwards, Christian attacked Sheamus backstage and slammed him into some stuff. Looks like we're gonna get a feud between these two.
Match rating - 6.5/10
6) The Bellas vs. Aksana & Alicia Fox
After a great match and wild backstage segment, it was once again for another cool-down type match. This definitely served its purpose and wasn't a trainwreck like alot of Divas matches that happen on Raw. The Bellas continue to improve the ring which is good to see. Glad they want to improve. Not much else can be said. Decent divas tag match.
Match rating - 5/10
After this we were supposed to get Bryan vs Batista, but it turned into Daniel Bryan calling out Triple H and challenging him for a match at WrestleMania once again. I didn't enjoy this segment as it was basically just WWE mocking the fans. They mentioned the hi-jack Raw thing and basically just taunted the fans in attendance (and Punk fans at home). It was a decent segment for what it was, but it fell flat for me.
7) Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler comes out to a huge pop. He's another guy that WWE could have main eventing right now as he is hugely popular and loaded with talent. Unfortunately, he's not a favorite backstage so he's been buried in recent months. This was a short match that mainly happened so they could have Aaron Paul be featured and get his moment which was helping Ziggler win by distracting Del Rio. Another match that wasn't anything special, but served its purpose.
Match rating - 5/10
8) Jack Swagger vs. Big E
Same thing that happened with the Cesaro/Big E match earlier. Wasn't even a minute in before Cesaro interferes causing a DQ. Swagger and Cesaro get into it and Cesaro goes to swing Swagger, but Zeb stops him. Cesaro and Swagger shake hands afterwards. Good storyline progression, but wish they would have done something different than last week as I mentioned above. Plus they did it TWICE in one night.
9) Daniel Bryan vs. Batista
Didn't expect this match to last long as it didn't start until 11pm. It went around ten minutes and was a pretty decent match. What happened afterwards is what pissed me off. For the millionth time we saw Daniel Bryan get beat down by the Authority. Some people say that it served it's purpose in furthering the storyline between Triple H and Bryan. I say, the fact that we've seen this whole thing so many times before is just another reason Bryan should be in the WWE Title Match at Mania, not facing Triple H.
Overall thoughts: It was a pretty good episode of Raw. Much better than last week's show. The ending left a sour taste in my mouth. That along with the fact that WWE continues to put it in our faces that they can ram whoever they want down our throats. The way the handled the crowd was smart. The way the went overboard with it is what pissed me off. Just got the feeling that they find it funny that everyone isn't happy with the product. People still pay to come to the shows though, so that's all that really matters to them. Besides that, the opening segment was gold and Shield/Wyatts was awesome. Good show.