Angry Andy’s Raw Review: Guys, it’s getting really good

You have to love the Raw after Wrestlemania.  It’s become almost as big an event as Wrestlemania itself.  The crowd is hot, the wrestlers are pumped up, and everything just seems to come together with the booking.

This year was no exception.  The New Orleans crowd was hot as hell, which noticeably pumped up the competitors in the ring.  It also seemed to help the announce team, giving them 15-thousand reasons to focus on the action and characters in the ring.  Fancy that.

The opening video package on Bryan’s rise from indy standout to WWE champion was a thing of absolute beauty.  Friends online were talking about how they were getting emotional watching it.  That’s the point.  This guy is at the very top of the business because the fans recognized his talent, and demanded it.  This package, and the “thank you” video later in the broadcast, were WWE’s way of acknowledging that.

bryan h

Daniel Bryan’s promo was great, too.  It was a mix of Daniel Bryan the character and Bryan Danielson the person, showing humility and humanity, while still celebrating his over-the-top win.  The “you deserve it” chant was appropriate. Triple H’s bitter promo played off the feel-good stuff pretty well.  This segment, and the backstage Evolution in-fighting that followed, built nicely towards tonight’s main event.

wyatts

The six-man tag was pretty fun, especially with the crowd so firmly behind The Wyatt Family.  The crowd didn’t want to boo Big E, but had no problem taking a Gooker all over Cena and Sheamus.  As I (and others) tweeted during the show, it may just be time to turn everyone’s favorite generic Irishman heel, and pair him up with Evolution 2K14.  Everyone knows he’s Hunter’s boy anyway.  You might as well build on it, and let him FINALLY get some of his heat back.  He’s got a natural title match against Bryan when it happens.

emmalock

I love Emma, Santino, Fandango and Summer Rae.  I’m getting tired of this mixed tag match.  The good thing is they used this match as a showcase for Emma, and nothing more.  It kinda worked.  Kinda.

Heyman’s promo on breaking the streak was worth every penny they’ve ever paid him.  The man may be unable to balance a checkbook, but my god, he’s GOLD with a microphone.

evolution usos

I HATE when tag team champions get fed to main event challengers.  Los Matadores, Goldust & Cody Rhodes, or hell, even Too Cool could have been destroyed.  Why bury your champs, and the titles?  At least there was no title change, and Orton and Batista looked decidedly strong.  That powerbomb on the steps was super safe, yet super nasty.

RVD Sandow

Hey, RVD is back.  That’s nice.  He’s still fun, and he’s still an attraction, but I’m not nearly as excited to see RVD in 2014 as I was in 2006.  Not even close.

BNB Rey

You know, the crowd was rarely dead in New Orleans…except when Rey Mysterio made his entrance.  I can’t be the only one who heard the pins dropping, right?  Then #BadNewsBarrett came out, and everything was right in the world.  It was actually fun watching #BNB react to the crowd reacting to him.   Nice to see Barrett wrestling, and picking up the win.

Rusev Smash

Hey, Alexander Rusev is wrestling!  First NXT debut of the night.  He looks great.  So does Lana.  Good god.  Oh, and thanks for coming, Zack Ryder.

It was very cool to see Warrior on Raw.  It made me happy to see him out there having fun with the crowd.

Paige wins

When AJ was cutting her “I’m the CM Punk of the Divas division” promo, you knew someone was coming out to shut her up.  I’m glad it was Paige.  I’d have been happier if it was more of a “wow, Paige is great” than a “wow, what an upset,” but beggars can’t be choosers.  The second NXT debut of the night was still pretty well executed.

cesaro swagger uppercut

I was legitimately shocked by Cesaro choosing to align with Paul Heyman. It’s a little bit of a strange choice, considering Heyman is carrying ALL the heat of Lesnar’s win over the Undertaker, and Cesaro is such a strong face.  Great mic work here by Cesaro, Heyman and Zeb.  I love that they’re calling Cesaro the “King of Swing.”  It’s so easy to get behind.  Get ready for a lot of awesome t-shirts, and a pretty damn good match at Extreme Rules.

Tonight’s show saw 2 promos each for the returning/debuting Bo Dallas, and the soon-to-debut Adam Rose.  All 4 promos are super well-done, and do a really great job establishing the characters involved. I cannot wait to watch Bo revel in a sea of BOLIEVERS, and I’m definitely jumping on the Adam Rose bandwagon…or, should I say, the Exotic Express.

shield bryan

I really liked the way the show ended – with the brawl between Triple H’s henchman and The Shield. Call them The Authority, call them Evolution, whatever.  They’re awesome together.  We all know The Shield is perfect.  Tonight showed that WWE thinks the Shield are MAIN EVENTERS, especially Roman Reigns.  Reigns speared the hell out of Triple H. Seriously, it looked awesome, and so did Ambrose and Rollins.  It’s like the Shield-Wyatts standoff was a test run for this one.  It worked again.

Evolution Shield Standoff

It seems like War Games (or, for the sake of WWE branding, an extreme rules Hell in a Cell clusterkerfuffle) is on tap for the next pay-per-view.  I’m okay with that.  I’m guessing we get Bryan-Orton in a rematch for the title, and Hunter-Batista-Kane vs. The Shield.  I’m guessing.

It’s worth noting that a bunch of big names were nowhere to be found on this show.  I’m looking at you Goldust, Cody Rhodes, Ryback, Curtis Axel, Big Show, Alberto Del Rio, Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, Mark Henry…

But we DID get a 3MB chant, so there’s that.

Hey, wait a second.  Wasn’t Sting supposed to show up tonight and announce his intentions to break the streak?  Oh wait.

Speaking of the streak… I’m still not ready to join the “it’s horseshit” bandwagon on Taker’s loss.  I’m going to remain cautiously optimistic that big things are coming down the line… most likely in the form of a MAJOR Brock Lesnar title match.  I’m guessing Summerslam, but I’m going to hope for Wrestlemania.  Maybe both.

@AndyMillerJMS