Last night's Monday Night Raw was the very last episode before the Royal Rumble takes place this Sunday. Seeing as how it was pretty much the last chance to get fans excited enough to shell out cash on Sunday for the PPV, how did the WWE fare? What was good, bad and just plain strange about Raw, in this writer's opinion?
1) The Beat the Clock Challenge matches to determine who got to pick their spot in the Rumble were good, as those type of match ups usually are. The wrestlers in each match were paired together quite well also, particularly Orton and Cesaro. Hopefully these two get more time to fight sometime this year.
2) Dolph Ziggler winning the Beat the Clock Challenge was unexpected considering how Cena has been coming out on top of their feud for weeks now. It was also good that Vickie announced that Ziggler has to pick between the number one and number two spots in the Rumble. This will make his quest to stop Cena from winning the match all the more personal, and all the more good. Ziggler is definitely going to steal the show at the Rumble.
3) The Rock storyline where the police barred him from the building was cool. It made the anticipation build up to what he was going to do to get inside.
Furthermore, The Shield beating up The Rock, allowing Punk to stand tall near the end of the show has him rolling with momentum into Sunday. Last night was a clear indication of what type of match were going to see at the Rumble, and it's exciting.
4) Raw Roulette was announced for next week's Raw! Those are always exciting shows.
5) Vince McMahon adding the stipulation to the Rock and Punk's match that if The Shield interferes Punk will be stripped of the belt was a good move. It's just going to make the match this Sunday all the better, as Punk is really going to have to prove he is the best in the world.
Then again, there was that segment with Heyman and Brad Maddox from earlier on in the night where they shook hands and Heyman promised he would make Maddox famous. Maybe someone will end up interfering on Punk's behalf after all…
6) Bob Backlund was announced as the next inductee into the Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame class this year is shaping up very nicely.
1) The Rock's Manti Te'o reference was groan inducing. Why must the WWE constantly try and include trending topics into every aspect of their programming?
3) Alberto Del Rio vs. Tensai was terrible, just like Big Show's match. Just like Ryder, Tensai can't seem to get any sort of break. I wonder if he is wishing he hadn't left Japan.
4) The arguing segment at the very end of the show was cheesy, and predictable. Every year a brawl erupts between wrestlers before the Rumble as a preview of sorts, and this year was no different.
1) The anger management graduation turned hug fest of Kane and Daniel Bryan was just weird. Kane and Daniel Bryan hugging it out was understandable. It was one of the funniest moments of their ascension. But crew members and fans? It was funny, but not in the same way as Kane and Daniel Bryan.
2) These "Si" chants from the crowd for Del Rio are interesting. Will they become as successful as Bryan's "Yes" chants, which they are clearly a play off of?
Overall, Raw was surprisingly good last night. They built successful tension towards the PPV on Sunday, and increased the stakes for not only Rock vs. Punk, but the Rumble as well.
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