The final Raw before the Elimination Chamber emanated from the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colo. Monday.
It was an overall good show, in my opinion, that boasted a fantastic match in the middle of it and an entertaining brawl at the end.
Without further adieu, here are my thoughts on the latest edition of Raw:
John Cena-Cesaro had a fantastic match
Wow! I said that multiple times during this contest. If Cesaro wasn’t over with the powers at be already, Monday night put him on the map in a big way, even in defeat.
Kudos also has to go John Cena for making a fresh face in the main event scene look like million bucks, something he has done numerous occasions believe it or not.
These two showed some incredible feats of strength, including Cena essentially doing a sit up to counter the Cesaro swing, Cesaro pulling Cena from the apron and over the turnbuckle to suplex him and Cena rolling into the attitude adjustment.
The fans in Denver being so hot for the match only added to the suspense. There were a couple of moments there where you thought Cesaro had a real chance at winning. That’s what so great about Cena matches. Although you know he will somehow pull yet another rabbit out of his hat, he has the uncanny ability to make you believe for a split second that he will in fact lose.
I had no qualms with Cena winning Monday. Cesaro still looked great in the process. Even in defeat, a wrestler can get over and look better coming out of it. WWE sometimes loses sight of this and I believe a big reason for that is the lack of time to tell that story, but Cena and Cesaro had enough time and it paid off.
All hell breaks loose at the end of the show
These big brawls have happened before — usually before the Royal Rumble — but Monday’s was still pretty cool nonetheless.
During the main event between Randy Orton and Sheamus, The Shield inexplicably attacked Sheamus, causing a disqualification.
This brought out Cena and Daniel Bryan to make the save. Christian and Cesaro soon followed. The arena then went dark and the Wyatt Family showed up and finally went at it with The Shield.
What was interesting was that Cesaro was just hitting anyone that was near him. It didn’t matter whether the person was a heel or a babyface he was just throwing punches.
I know these big brawls to make one last ditch effort to sell pay-per-view have been done time and time again, but I think it helped in this circumstance.
I think the two main event matches — the Elimination Chamber and The Shield versus the Wyatt Family — lacked some juice heading into Monday.
I believe both matches gained some to the point that they are both at least a little more intriguing.
The entire build to these matches may not have been perfect, but I am definitely looking forward to the quality of the matches come Sunday.
The Wyatt Family, The Shield finally touch again
After a couple of weeks of building to it, the Wyatt Family and The Shield finally have another physical confrontation.
The crowd in Denver went absolutely crazy when the two factions began to go at it. The anticipation to see these two teams go at it almost has a WrestleMania feel to it.
Unfortunately, the WWE apparently has other plans for these six men heading into the milestone event and we will more than likely get the match at the Elimination Chamber where the match will have some meaning, but not as much as it could if it took place at WrestleMania.
Kane attempts to sideline Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan narrowly defeated Christian Monday despite taking a lot of damage to his left shoulder and arm.
Kane, who made the match, ordered Bryan to compete against him right after. Kane didn’t do much in trying to win the match. In fact, he got himself intentionally disqualified trying to do more damage to Bryan’s arm.
If Bryan is going to move on to either the WWE World Heavyweight Championship or a WrestleMania match with Triple H, you would think he would have to get some form of payback against Kane soon.
Until then, we will continue to see more interaction between Kane and Bryan.
Christian played a heel during his match against Daniel Bryan
This may not be a permanent move (although I wouldn’t mind it), but Christian worked essentially as heel during his match against Bryan.
Firstly, he took advantage of a distraction from Kane to begin the match. During the match itself, he mocked Bryan’s “Yes!” chant and didn’t go out of his way to gain cheers from the crowd like he usually does.
Again, I don’t think this move is permanent. As a matter of fact, I don’t know why it happened to begin with, but it was interesting to see nonetheless.
Bryan beat Christian with a roll up
One last note from that Bryan-Christian was that Bryan beat Christian with a roll up. I thought that was a good way to protect Christian before he heads into the Elimination Chamber.
WWE could have easily had Bryan pin Christian or force him to submit and the crowd wouldn’t have complained at all, but it makes sense to have him narrowly lose when he’s going to be one of five men challenging for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in less than a week.
Granted, Orton has lost clean three times in the last two weeks, but it’s a little different with him being the champion. It wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense for him to beat all of his challengers before the match.
Roman Reigns defeats Mark Henry clean
Roman Reigns did what Dean Ambrose couldn’t — defeat Mark Henry. After a solid match between the two, Reigns hit Henry with the spear and pinned him right in the middle of the ring.
Ambrose didn’t seem too enthused and even looked jealous that his partner didn’t seem to have too much trouble with Henry.
He took his frustrations out on Henry by stomping on him. Reigns didn’t stop him, but didn’t approve of it either.
Other than that, it was more of the same here. There was more dissention amongst The Shield and the ascension of Reigns continues on a weekly basis.
Emma finally gets a vignette
I said a couple of weeks ago that one way WWE could get Emma’s silly dance over was to show her doing the dance on NXT to show the Raw viewing audience, most of which who don’t watch NXT, other people doing the dance along with her.
Well, WWE finally did this Monday night and it showed her wrestling as well. This vignette was needed, but it’s about two weeks too late. This video should have been shown before she ever stepped foot in a Raw ring, so people could kind of get an idea what she’s about.
Instead, the WWE sent her out there with nothing and expected people to follow along with her. You have to show people that it is something fans can get behind. Hopefully, Monday can help her somewhat get over the Raw crowds.
Bad News Barrett delivers bad news to Brotherhood
Finally, Bad News Barrett delivered some bad news to another person on the roster instead an entire arena full of people.
One of the reasons why he’s so funny on the “JBL and Cole Show” on YouTube is because he comes out of nowhere and delivers bad news to someone. On Monday, he delivered some bad news to Goldust and Cody Rhodes by messing up their action figure time.
It really wasn’t that bad of news, but it’s a start. It was better than him sitting atop a podium that seemingly gets higher and more dangerous by the week.
With this method, he can generate a feud with another wrestler and keep himself out of a precarious position on top of that podium.
Titus O’Neil cut a pretty good promo
I’ve always been a fan of Titus O’Neil and thought he would make a better babyface than a heel because he can be pretty funny.
However, his heel promo Monday showed me a couple of things.
For one, he showed confidence. He seemed very comfortable with what he was saying and how he said it. I liked his presence and his adlibs as well. I also liked the passion with which he spoke. I don’t know if that was emphasized to him or if that just came straight from him, but it was something you don’t see on a weekly basis anymore.
Does he have room for improvement? Certainly. When he got into the passionate part of his promo, he kind of lost his tone and his voice cracked a little bit. Was it a bit over the top? Maybe, but I will not fault the guy for trying to cut good promo. He took a chance and I can appreciate that.
Side notes: The Usos will face the New Age Outlaws for the tag titles at Elimination Chamber, Big E will face Jack Swagger for the Intercontinental title at the pay-per-view, Titus O’Neil will go against Darren Young at the event and Goldust and Cody Rhodes will face Ryback and Curtis Axel on the pre show.