RAW –  Review, Highlights & Analysis From 23/02/2014

Randy Orton/ The Authority

The Viper’s back, hungry to get his hands on Seth Rollins but the Authority wants Orton back on their team. Well, at least Stephanie does. Triple H’s mind was somewhere else last night and he didn’t say a word. Big Show tried to play the satisfied customer for the Authority but the booing from the crowd didn’t help him sell the idea very well.

The bottom line is that Rollins was nowhere to be found and Randy Orton was dragged into  a “business conference” later in the night.

Dolph Ziggler def. Bad News Barrett

This was the most exciting part of Raw. The match itself was good but what really made the segment so thrilling was the post-match exchange.

Dean Ambrose walked out with the IC Championship on his shoulder. He was the very image of a proud champion. On his way in the ring Ambrose walked by Ziggler without even acknowledging him. On the way out, the Lunatic Fringe shoved The Show Off out of his way. Meanwhile R-Truth was on commentary trying to push #GiveTruthAChance and get a championship match.

This one little nudge to the shoulder opened so many possibilities. Ambrose vs. BNB vs. Ziggler vs. Truth perhaps? Or maybe Ambrose vs. Ziggler with a heel turn around the corner. I haven’t’ been that interested in the IC title picture in a long, long time. The only bad thing is that Barrett comes off looking so weak. He’s a bare knuckle fighter, after all he should be presented as someone who wants to fight! Stop it with the cowardly heels, please!

The Authority’s Business Conference

Apparently the Authority holds their business conferences in the corridor backstage and I find this extremely odd.

Having gotten this off my chest, I felt for Seth Rollins when Stephanie played the “are you talking back to me because I’m a woman” card. Arguing against feminism is a no win situation.

Rollins, supported by Kane, tried to play the voice of reason. His point was that Orton can’t be trusted and he was right. Stephanie, however, didn’t agree. All she wanted was to have the Viper on her side.

Rollins is the brains of the Authority without a doubt. He’s cautious. Stephanie’s way too arrogant to realize that she can’t control Orton. That might cause trouble within the Authority. Whatever Orton does to hurt Rollins from now on, Rollins will blame on the Authority, especially after Stephanie washed her hands with Seth on the Orton attack.

The Prime Time Players def. The Ascension

Where do I even begin?! The Ascension are still stuck with this dead-end gimmick, cutting promos on Hall of Famers and now they got beat by the newly reformed PTP.

Viktor and Konnor did squash PTP after the match but this doesn’t help them at all. The Ascension is surely sinking in quicksand since they arrived on the main roster. It’s such a shame.

Roman Reigns/ Daniel Bryan/ Paul Heyman

Roman Reigns was about to address his “doubters”, by which he meant the haters, when Daniel Bryan came out and interrupted him.

Bryan cut a brilliant, emotional promo on his turn from being a Reigns doubter to respecting Reigns. I have to say that this speech sold Roman much better than Roman could have ever sold himself. So generous of Bryan to put Reigns over in such an elegant manner.

Paul Heyman also had words of praise to give to Roman Reigns. The Advocate compared Reigns to men of all eras, from Bruno Sammartino, through the Rock & Hulk Hogan, to Triple H, and in his mind Reigns still came on top. Then again, Heyman still believes that Reigns has no chance of beating Brock.

Reigns played the intimidation card on Heyman and said that doubt only motivates him more.

Roman didn’t talk much and perhaps it was better, since it’s not his strong suit. Bryan and Heyman did their job well, the crowd seemed to warm up to Reigns.

The Usos def. Tyson Kidd & Cesaro via DQ

I’ve been complaining for a while that Naomi and Natalya don’t play any role in this feud. Now they do. They ruined a straight-forward awesome tag team titles match but I think it was worth it.

Naomi stopped Tyson from cheating, so Natty got involved and attacked Jimmy, causing a DQ. Naomi attacked Natalya to protect her husband but it was too late, as the match was over and the titles remained with the champions.

This gives the Usos grounds for a second rematch, so in reality they haven’t lost anything. Naomi & Natalya’s presence finally has some meaning and this is shaping to look like a feud.

Miz & Mizdow

Mizdow thanked Miz for demoting him because not being a stunt double any more, allowed him to be contacted with offers as a lead. Miz could hardly hide his jealousy.

Jack Swagger def. Stardust

Hey, Swagger’s back! It’s been a long time since he’s last been on Raw, especially leaving victorious. I had almost forgotten about him.

In all fairness, the win came only because of Goldust, who came out midmatch with his music playing and distracted Stardust.

I’m into this rivalry. It makes sense. Rarely, the WWE has such easy opportunities for making a good feud in a short period of time. I hope they won’t take it lightly, though. Gold and Stardust deserve to be given enough time to tell their story.

John Cena/Rusev

This segment killed my hopes for this feud. Before FastLane, Rusev seemed to have put the Russia vs. USA storyline on the sideline. Things seemed to be personal with Cena. It was more of a personality clash than a boring country vs. country plot.

However, RAW brought us back to Captain America vs. Putin’s Evil Buddy. I don’t understand why the WWE insists on pushing this idea further. It’s overused. Both Cena and Rusev can do much better.

Once this is over, Cena will be fine, leaving as a hero again. Rusev, however, who is again being reduced to a faceless lapdog for Russia, will suffer. Why build a strong heel only based on a story, which becomes entirely useless after just one defeat when you can create a permanently dangerous monster? Rusev should have been allowed to slowly, gradually separate from the Russian Villain image.

Seth Rollins/Randy Orton

Seth wanted to confront Randy about their issues. Orton, however, didn’t want to make it that easy. He insisted that he’s on the same page as Rollins when it comes to their match but he’ll never ever forget what happened between them.

The Bella Twins def. Paige & Emma

This ridiculous “match” lasted less than 30 seconds. There was a bit of pushing and Brie pinned Emma.

The WWE Universe responded by making #GiveDviasAChance the top trend on Twitter. What’s sad is that I’m so used to this terrible state of the WWE Divas’ Division that I didn’t even pay attention to the segment. I took it as normal because that’s the way the WWE presents their female talent to the fans.

Ryback def. Axel

Axel’s promo before the match lasted more than the match itself. It made laugh though. Axel still thinks he’s in the Royal Rumble. Amost a month now. He even knew the time to the second.  I found it funny.

Then Ryback came out and cut a short boring promo that didn’t leave an impression on me.

Afterwards we had the Rybaxel implosion that never happened. Basically Axel launched a passionate attack that lasted about 2 min and then found himself on the receiving end of a Shell Shock, making Ryback the winner.

Roman Reigns & Daniel Bryan def. Randy Orton & Seth Rollins

Knowing that Reigns and Bryan had already solved their issues, it was obvious that the whole attention would be fixed on the upcoming clash between Orton and Rollins.

The match was actually quite good. Randy hasn’t missed a beat. We were also reminded that Rollins vs. Bryan could be an amazing rivalry. Imagine both of them flying at each other. It would be beautiful.

In the end Rollins tagged himself in and eventually lost. Orton was furious. He seemed to want to attack Seth after the match but RKOed Mercury instead and then quite menacingly helped Rollins up before leaving.

Seth was shocked. He expected to be attacked but wasn’t. The problem is, Rollins is smart enough to know that Orton will eventually turn on him. The question is when. Also, Seth is stuck because he can’t rely on the Authority. Triple H is busy with Sting and Stephanie is too blind to see the danger. Now Rollins has to look over his shoulder constantly without having the protection he’s used to having.

What did you think of this week’s RAW? Share your thoughts in the comment section, on FB or Twitter!

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