By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder
Thoughts From Raw:
- So here’s my question: Who’s manipulating who?
- If you’re a wrestling fan and you haven’t been under a rock with cotton in your ears, you know Batista won the Royal Rumble match on Sunday. More importantly, you know that the fans absolutely crapped on it. After poor Rey Mysterio came out as number 30, and it became clear that Daniel Bryan, the man the Pittsburgh crowd had been chanting for all night, was not going to be in the match, the crowd revolted. The internet exploded. Fans were panning WWE, Batista, the pay per view, everything. Even Hall of Famer Mick Foley went on a rant, talking about how disgusted he was with WWE for not listening to their audience. As of Sunday, it appeared as if our main event for Wrestlemania XXX would be Randy Orton against Batista for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, with Daniel Bryan, and seemingly the opinion of the majority of WWE fans, cast aside.
Then came this week’s Raw. We kicked off the show with Bryan in the ring with the Authority in the ring, and he’s essentially saying what the fans have been saying for the past 24 hours. Listen to your audience, the fans were chanting for him during the Rumble, etc. Fast forward to the end of the show, and we’ve got Bryan, along with John Cena and Sheamus, qualified to compete for the title at Elimination Chamber next month, and thus face Batista at Wrestlemania.
So now the question becomes: Did WWE change their plans after sending the fans home disgusted from the Rumble, or was this the plan all along?
Obviously, I don’t know the answer. But to me, this looks like a rewrite, designed to send Bryan to Wrestlemania to defend the championship against Batista. And heck, Stephanie even called Batista the Authority’s “close personal friend” or something, right? It would fit right into the idea of the Authority trying to hold down Daniel Bryan because he’s not “best for business.” Even at 45 years of age, Batista still fits that muscle-bound WWE mold perfectly.
On the other hand, that scenario presents a problem. Daniel Bryan is a tremendous underdog. That’s one of the reasons why WWE fans love him so much. But giving him the championship takes a lot of that away from him. So WWE would have to really play up the size difference between Batista and Bryan, and if you’ll allow a bizarre comparison, create a scenario akin to the climax of Jack and the Beanstalk. Bryan has stolen the WWE’s golden harp, and now they’ve sent the giant, Batista, chasing after him. Instead of Bryan trying to claw his way back to the top of WWE, it becomes a story about him trying to escape the wrath of this monster Batista.
Is this the ideal scenario for Wrestlemania XXX? No. But assuming Orton vs. Batista was indeed the plan for Wrestlemania, I’d say WWE doesn’t have much of a choice but to change course.
There IS another option, however, and that’s to put Batista against Brock Lesnar at Elimination Chamber, and have Brock beat Batista for his Wrestlemania spot. From where I’m sitting, that’s the more appealing match. When Lesnar and Paul Heyman came to the ring during the Batista/Randy Orton segment, the entire scene became much more compelling. Lesnar is a hotter heel, and a better all around attraction than both Orton and Batista. People can question Lesnar’s passion for the business all they want. But he’s such a damn superstar, it almost doesn’t matter. Bryan vs. Brock, with Paul Heyman doing the big man’s mic work. Now there’s a main event for you.
- So we’re doing the Rey Mysterio/Sin Cara tag team again, huh? I’ve got no issues with that. At the very least, it adds even more depth to the tag team division. WWE seems to be playing it very safe with the very injury prone Rey Mysterio these days. From that angle, it makes a lot of sense to put him in a tag team again, especially one where Sin Cara can do a lot of the high-flying maneuvers that Rey can’t physically do anymore.
- So is Dolph Ziggler going to be billed from Cleveland now? He’s always been announced as being from Hollywood, Florida. Incidentally, knowing Ziggler, I’m not sure that 69 on his jersey was PG.
- VERY happy to see that Jake “The Snake” Roberts is being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year. At this point, I think the fact that Roberts has seemingly overcome his personal demons almost supersedes his accomplishments in the ring. Consider how long this man has battled addiction. To have finally conquered it after all this time, and after so many attempts, is simply awesome. For that alone, he deserves this honor.
- I literally laughed out loud when Cody Rhodes went for his moonsault on the Road Dogg, and Dogg cried “Look out! Look out!” and bolted from the ring. Honestly, they don’t make teams as entertaining as the Outlaws anymore. That’s obviously part of the reason they got their belts back on the Royal Rumble pre-show. My only complaint was that it shouldn’t have been on the pre-show. They should have been on the pay per view itself.
- I would say we’ve seen the beginnings of a rift between Cody Rhodes and Goldust, which will hopefully lead to a match between the two at Wrestlemania. Based on some of the things Cody was doing in the ring this week, my guess is we’ll see him go heel on Goldust. I imagine it would be difficult to get a Wrestlemania crowd to boo a veteran like him, much less one with such a beloved character.
Front page image, image 1, image 2, and image 3 from wwe.com. Image 4 from sportskeeda.com.
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