Last night’s Raw emanated from Green Bay and saw the return of the King of the Ring! WWE had four opening round matches last night, and will conclude the tournament with the semifinals and finals tonight on the WWE Network. In other news, Kane and Rollins are still not on the same page, Rosa Mendes got to make out with Adam Rose and we know now the main event of Payback. Let’s get to the five stars from last night’s Raw.
1. The King of the Ring
During Extreme Rules on Sunday, the WWE announced that the King of the Ring tournament would return, with the opening round airing on Raw and the semifinals and finals airing Tuesday night on the WWE Network. I love the King of the Ring, and it gives mid card guys a chance to have spotlight matches on WWE’s most important weekly show. Besides it giving guys an opportunity to wrestle on Raw, I hope the WWE rewards the winner with something of value. In Lucha Underground, the Authority/GM figure Dario Cueto gives out ‘unique opportunities’ to wrestlers looking for a leg up on the competition. Why not have the winner of the King of the Ring become the de facto #1 contender for any belt. It doesn’t have to be the WWE championship, but at least give the viewers a reason to root for a certain guy besides having to watch them wear a robe and a crown. WWE is the land of no consequences, but it’d be nice if they used this mini tournament as a way to start a fresh championship feud. I won’t be holding breath though.
2. Bray Wyatt, If This Ryback Feud Is Going Where I Hope It Goes
1. I will never get tired of Wyatt teleporting to the ring to deliver a Sister Abigail and 2. I will only like this feud if it’s going where I hope it goes. For the last two years, Bray Wyatt has dominated May-March and then lost the two biggest matches of his career. While I’m not too keen on basing a guy’s success on wins and losses, Wyatt kind of lives and dies by them. In the case of The Undertaker, he spent the entire winter beating Dean Ambrose, then the entire Road to WrestleMania calling out The Undertaker. Then Taker shows up for one night, beats him, and Wyatt just starts his cryptic promo feud all over again. As a fan, why should I even be paying attention to Wyatt? The casual fans are tuning him out because he seems like a fraud. The hardcore fans who like him no matter what will stand by him, but that’s now where you make your money. Wyatt needs to be seen as a man of his word, not a guy who makes threats and then can’t cash in on them. I have to assume WWE is having Ryback dispatch Bo Dallas for a reason, and I hope that reason is so that Dallas and Wyatt, who are real life brothers, can join together. Wyatt was at his peak when he had loyal followers, and who better to follow him than his disillusioned brother? Dallas has grown out his facial hair and his promo’s the past few nights have been considerably less happy go lucky and a lot more stern. The WWE has been in business for a long time, so I know they can create a feud with these three that makes everyone look better when it’s over.
Coming off a night where he had another man kiss his ass, Sheamus turned up on Raw and moved on to the semifinals of the King of the Ring tournament. Since embarrassing Ziggler wasn’t enough, Sheamus decided to come out on the microphone and interrupt Ziggler’s match with Barrett to show the still photos of Ziggler kissing Sheamus’s ass from Extreme Rules. Sheamus and Rollins are the best bad guys in the company right now, and it’s solely because they’re great at being assholes. Forcing someone to kiss your ass is bad enough, but coming out the next night to show them pictures of the ass kissing is next level dick head-ness. My only complaint with the King of the Ring tournament setup was having Sheamus face Ambrose. Couldn’t Sheamus face Stardust and Ambrose face R-Truth so they both could advance? Why have Ambrose look so good at Extreme Rules then the next night have him lose via DQ? Isn’t the goal to have your best guys in the top spots? Rosa Mendes will become Divas champ before R-Truth wins this King of the Ring tournament, so why prolong the inevitable? Anyway, I’m glad Sheamus advanced, but I think he loses to Neville tonight.
This shouldn’t’ come as a surprise, but of the four opening round matches on Raw, Neville had the best one. Luke Harper is the best, and he’s mastered the style of making it look like he’s literally pulverizing the guys he’s in the ring with. I’ve also made it a personal goal to include Neville on every write up I do if he hits and wins with the Red Arrow. No one else on the main roster has a move that’s close to it, and seeing it live last week gives me a new found appreciation for his athleticism. Neville’s win sets up a match with Sheamus which I really think should be the finals match. Hopefully Ziggler costs Sheamus the match tonight and Neville gets a chance to beat Barrett again, which HAS to solidify him as the #1 contender for Daniel Bryan’s IC belt. If that’s the story WWE is going to tell, I’m all for it, and it continues Neville’s excellent main roster push. Minor complaint: WWE is obsessed with giving guys a million nicknames. Reigns is the juggernaut, superman, monster, yada, yada. Neville is the Man That Gravity Forgot and now they’re calling him the New Sensation. Just stick to one nickname and let it work itself out.
5. A House Show Main Event
Calling last night’s main event a ‘house show main event’ is not an insult. Ambrose, Reigns and Rollins all looked pretty into this match, and it had a house show kind of feel to it. Wrestling on live television limits what the performers are able to do because everything is timed out so meticulously. The Kane/Rollins feud is king of dragging, but a tweet after Raw might clue us into the future of the Authority/Seth Rollins storyline:
— Finn Bálor (@wwebalor) April 28, 2015
Give me Finn Balor as the new demon for The Authority. Give me Finn Balor against Rollins. Just give me Finn Balor on the main roster right god damn now. If this is the payoff to the current feud, I’m willing to stick it out. I also love the main event of Payback being a triple threat, as Reigns should be in the main event after his performance at Fast Lane, WM and Extreme Rules.