WWE Monday Night Raw Review - February 2nd, 2015
As annoying as The Authority opening nearly every show of the past year may be sometimes, it's almost always great television as we get good promos from HHH and typically whoever he's in the ring with. There was alot of suspense going into this segment and they did a remarkable job of continuing to build that as the segment went along by having Rollins join the fray with Bryan & Reigns then cutting to commercial. The announcement of Bryan facing Rollins later in the night with the winner facing Reigns at Fast Lane got me hyped and gave me a reason to continue watching the show. Good opening segment.
1) Roman Reigns vs. The Big Show
The match these two had on Smackdown really surprised me. Reigns busted out some cool new moves including a crossbody off the ring apron and they actually clicked pretty well. However it wasn't enough to make me want see this again especially since it happened several times in January. Thankfully they wrapped this one up fairly quickly with a screwy finish that saw Rollins hit Reigns in the back allowing Show to win.
Match rating - **
2) The Ascension vs. Stardust & Goldust
Meh. Thats the best way to describe this one. Aside from wins over veterans, there's nothing that even remotely stands out about The Ascension. And the dust brothers, well, they've been irrelevant for awhile now. The only good thing that came out of this was more tension was shown between the Rhodes brothers. Ready for that to come to a head so we can see Cody back delivering the great matches he's capable of. The feud with Goldust should be awesome.
Match rating - *
3) Ryback vs. Luke Harper
I knew this would be extremely enjoyable as soon as it was announced. Harper has been killing it and Ryback has improved drastically, plus they're both hard hitting big guys so this was a recipe for fun from the start. On top of that, when Ryback slammed Luke Harper minutes into the match and yelled "Who's ya daddy?!" - I knew this match would be gold. Subtle things like that is why I've been a Ryback fan since he's days with Paul Heyman. He's embraced his funny side and has been able to show his personality which is great to see. The action here was exactly what you would expect. Unless you don't like Ryback then I'd say to watch this match and explain why because he & Harper put together a very solid match with several near falls that made me want to see them face off again.
Match rating - **3/4
4) Cesaro vs. Jimmy Uso
This was SO much fun. Matches like this make me think Vince is nuts by saying things like "Cesaro can't connect". The crowd popped hard for the swing and it was clear that the swiss superman wowed them on several occasions here. He's always had good chemistry with smaller more flippy guys so he worked well with the Uso here. The ending to this match was absolutely awesome as Jimmy came off the top rope only to recieve one of the most vicious uppercuts I've ever seen in return. So vicious that it led Cesaro to victory. I legit popped in my living room for that move, it was so astounding. Definitely go back & see that if you missed it. Fantastic stuff here.
Match rating - ***
5) Dolph Ziggler vs. Bray Wyatt
I was so stoked when this got announced. Wyatt hits hard & is a master of ring psychology and Ziggler sells like a champ, this was the perfect match up on paper thus it translated to greatness in the ring. Ziggler did his usual awesome job of garnering sympathy by taking a beating from Wyatt that included multiple vicious lariats and takedowns. I liked how Wyatt would simply roll out of the ring in the early going when Ziggler would start building momentum. It's little things like that which make Wyatt special. Beyond that, they did alot of cool countering and building towards big moves here instead of just hitting them. For instance they sold Ziggler going for the famouser several times which made the crowd go even more crazy when he finally hit it. This was just a very good match all around. Wyatt picks up the win with a sister abigail out of nowhere.
Match rating - ***1/2
6) Paige vs. Alicia Fox
It seems like I say this every time I review Raw, but it's sadly true - this was your basic Divas match. They put together some solid exchanges with a few impressives manuevers however they weren't given enough time to create a lasting impression. I say this so often that from now on when I review a Divas match on a Raw or Smackdown, I'm simply going to put the phrase "basic Divas match". It's not an insult to them because it's not their fault anymore. WWE has probably the most solid Divas roster they've ever had when it comes to in-ring ability yet they just fail to utilizie it. None the less, the stuff after the match here did a good job of gaining Paige some sympathy from fans heading into her title match at Fast Lane. Hopefully she & Nikki get some time to work on that PPV because they had a great match on Main Event a few weeks back.
Match rating - N/R - basic divas stuff
7) The Miz vs. Sin Cara
I just couldn't get into this at all. Sandow, as usual, was the only thing that kept me watching just to see what would happen. I'm ready for him to outright turn on The Miz. They're slowly building it so I hope it turns out huge when he finally fights back. Fun stuff from Sandow during an otherwise dull, uninteresting match. I guess this was a big win for Sin Cara too considering Miz is a former WWE, IC & Tag Champion.
Match rating - *3/4
8) Erick Rowan vs. Rusev
This one never got started as Rusev attacked Rowan pre-match and assaulted him. I'm glad it was done like that because the match would have been rushed if they tried to get it in this late in the show. Simple yet effective segment. Dominant showing to keep Rusev looking strong heading towards his battle with Cena at Fast Lane.
9) Daniel Bryan vs. Seth Rollins
Here it is - the match the whole evening has been building around and what I've been most looking forward to. My expectations were met literally seconds in as we saw these two do what they do best in the opening moments - innovate. From the rolling cross arm breaker to a Zack Sabre Jr-like armbreaker using only his legs, Bryan hit some really unique stuff here that the commentators ignored, but a wrestling fanatic like myself marked out for. This match as a whole was awesome, we saw Rollins hit a dive for the first time that I can remember in months which showcased how important this match was to both men. Some other highlights include Bryan's now signature hurricanrana from the top rope and Bryan hitting a backdrop suplex from the top turnbuckle that Rollins somehow managed to kick out of. Big Show was at ringside, but thankfully the interference was kept to a minimal and even though Reigns came down near the end, speared Big Show, and punched Rollins, I don't think it took away from the match that much. Obviously I would have preferred it be a clean contest however character development & storyline progression is important so this was an expected occurence. Reigns looked great during those final moments and Bryan got a huge win so I can't complain about that at all. As mentioned before, awesome match here, just as good as their match on Raw in 2013.
Match rating - ****
After the match, Bryan cut a promo that got a mixed reaction when he said he was going to Fast Lane to beat Roman Reigns. From that moment, I thought to myself, has WWE screwed up even worse here? The two men positioned as the top babyfaces facing off in the main event of a PPV is just going to cause more mixed reactions. I just hope those reactions don't last because if they do, we'll have two "babyfaces" ruined in the span of two months. I was hoping we'd see Rollins go over here and see the blowoff to the feud that never happened between he & Reigns. Beyond that, Rollins is a heel and he'd be the ideal opponent for the babyface in Reigns. However, this match could be a sign that WWE is planning to turn Roman Reigns OR Daniel Bryan heel. Based off Reigns telling Bryan to get the hell out of his locker room earlier in the night, I think it may be him. At this point, the only logical option is to turn one of them heel because if they don't, as I said before, two "babyfaces" could very well be getting mixed reactions headed into WrestleMania. Then again, that doesn't really matter anymore as long as they're selling tickets so who knows. This certainly makes things interesting heading into Fast Lane.
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