Tuesday Raw Roundtable: Randy Orton Finally Turns, Brock Lesnar Returns, Raw Slogs On Towards Wrestlemania 31

The Road to Wrestlemania 31 continued last night on Monday Night Raw with another 3 hour show.

What did the Pulse Wrestling crew think of the show?

Darren Paltrowitz

I think it’s great that they gave the Divas more screen time, but the matches booked with Divas weren’t so great. Same goes with the tag team division. Wiz Khalifa was a lot more entertaining than I had anticipated, and I wonder if the “Wizdow” thing will continue beyond this week. Heyman was excellent, as always, and I do wonder if the failing microphones are storyline or not. Randy Orton’s character has been reinvented in a way that is more interesting, to me at least. Curtis Axel finally got some “Axelmania” attention. The Rollins-over-the-table bump at the end was impressive. The J&J mic time, if you’d call it that, was a nice surprise.

On the purely negative end, it is lame that The Undertaker can’t make a live appearance. Brock Lesnar’s work schedule puts The Undertaker’s to shame, and that says a lot. It is also irritating that there seems to be a mid-card purgatory, and Daniel Bryan has fallen into it along with Ambrose. The commentary was horrific at times, including the Dikembe Mutombo conversation during the Bryan match. But worst of all remains how little attention some of the lower and mid-card are getting, while some of the already-ready NXT talent like Sami Zayn and Sasha Banks aren’t yet on “RAW.”

I’m not anymore excited about Wrestlemania as a result of this week’s episode, but I am looking forward to the event as a whole.

CB

Aside from Paul Heyman, this was another awful episode of Raw that further proves that this is the worst WrestleMania build ever. I just want Mania to be over and done with because this is just unbearable to watch.

Brittney Soban

Authority Promo: Finally, an opening of Raw I enjoyed. Banter, mind games, tension, it was a pretty good opening.
Daniel Bryan V. Bad News Barrett: The match wasn’t great which was disappointing since we all know these are two good wrestlers. Then, with Barrett attacking Bryan and Ambrose attacking Barrett it all was an obvious set up of tension for Wrestlemania.
Dean Ambrose V. Stardust: Again, the match was just kinda…there. Disappointing again. Setting up for Wrestlemania is fine, but give us something to watch other than attempts at building a feud and pushing a match that has such a goofy background. I was fine with the title steals if it meant a GOOD feud. Now it has become silly.
Brock Lesnar Returns: Heyman is always fun to watch. Lesnar being there felt like a good idea for pushing the idea of his presence and power.
Ryback & Rowan V. Kane & Bigshow: I’m a person that cheers for the good guys 90% of the time. I like Ryback and Rowan so a win is nice but the stale, obvious attempts to build tension between Kane & Bigshow. Stephanie McMahon coming out and dismissing them for the night only made them appear weak, even if she’s the boss it’s still odd to watch two of the biggest, and formerly meanest, guys in the business duck their heads, tuck their tails and scamper away.
AJ Lee V. Summer Rae: The promo before the match by the Bella Twins made me nauseous. Come on “Yabba…Dabba..Do…” Sorry Bella’s no one can make that intimidating and/or sexy. Setting up the match for Mania, where it’s the Bellas vs the Frenemies AJ & Paige is fine but having AJ run over someone we all knew she would doesn’t show us anything new or exciting. Just gave the Bella’s an excuse to wear cute outfits and not wrestle.
Curtis Axel V. Rusev: Axel is getting thrown around, used for comedy and then beat down regularly, no surprise there. The surprise here though was after Axel was taken out by Rusev in that we saw a darker, more vicious Cena than we have in a long time. Making Rusev pass out, waking him up, then applying the hold again until he makes Rusev tap? Felt like the days when everyone cheered Cena.
Big E & Xavier Woods V. Cesaro & Tyson Kidd: The only thing of note was that the Champions Kidd & Cesaro lost.
Naomi V. Natalya: Following right after the loss of her husband and his tag team partner Natalya also lost to Naomi. This did not further any rivalries or show anything interesting. It appeared that the WWE is trying to give the Divas more air time but give them some quality too.
The Usos V. Los Matadores: Again, immediately following Naomi’s win, her husband and brother-in-law battled Los Matadores. Los Matafores won, which is good for them, but again this only added another team to the tag team title scene. This is starting to sound like the IC title scene.
Bray Wyatt calls out The Undertaker: The urn being involved, the lightening strike, the ominous voice filling the arena. It was nice to hear The Undertaker again, even better to see the theatrics. While I think this would’ve been a better feud to end the streak on I’m excited to see this match happen. Currently, it’s the only match I’m truly, 100% interested in since most other matches are suffering from bad booking.
Roman Reigns V. Seth Rollins & Randy Orton: Orton betraying Rollins and allowing Rollins to be pinned was a nice twist in the “we’re a happy family” crap the Authority was pushing. It was also an amazing moment for all Orton fans to see the Viper truly return. Reigns got the victory and Orton got his revenge following the match as he attacked Rollins throughout the arena, delivering a series of hard hits and ending with an RKO on the announce table. Sweet, sweet revenge.

Brian Mitarotondo

This is the build to WrestleMania? This is pathetic. I couldn’t even make it through the whole show. I knew that once Paul Heyman delivered that epic promo that it would be all downhill from there. DB v BNB was good because, let’s face it, every time DB gets in the ring it is good. But I thought WWE was trying to restore some prominence to the IC Title, not devalue it even further by turning it into a month long comedy act with the champ losing every match since he won the title. The Orton face turn was long overdue. I would have much rather seen him stalk Rollins for a month than watch this poorly conceived, poorly written, and poorly acted out angle of “which side is he on?”, when everyone older than 5 new exactly how this would end.

I only just watched the rest of the show in highlight form, so take what I am about to say with a grain of salt.

Who is the face in the Cena/Rusev feud anyway? Cena sure looked like a bully and a sore loser last night. Bray Wyatt’s segment was as good as it could be for a guy how is expected to carry a feud all by himself. Nice to see Sting couldn’t even be bothered to record his own voiceover. It is good to see him committing to his long awaited, and probably only WWE feud. And Roman Reigns is fighting for the WWE Title in the main event at WrestleMania, and he is used as a prop in a secondary storyline? Unbelievable.

I don’t think I can watch this product much longer. This is the worst I’ve seen it in years. If it wasn’t for NXT, I may have tapped out already.

T.J. Rutherford

Last night’s Raw was peaks and valleys.
Peaks: Connor “The Crusher”, the IC title becoming the hottest title by “changing hands”, a ruthless John Cena destroying Rusev and a glorious Heyman promo.
Valleys: a voice recording of the Undertaker, Sting’s (?) voiceover on an otherwise chilling vignette, Mizdow becoming Wizdow (while this was amusing, he shouldn’t have had to put over WK which was odd that there was a musical guest…how about an NXT match??) and the announce team, period.

Justin Czerwonka (@JCWonka)

Are we sure this is Wrestlemania season? It sure doesn’t feel like it because the WWE seems to be phoning in a lot of this stuff. Randy Orton finally turns face, but it went on for too long. The 30 minutes of tag team wrestling had no heat to it whatsoever and the crowd wasn’t buying into it. The Bray Wyatt/Undertaker feud isn’t going to work with just Bray carrying it. John Cena came off as a heel. Sting/HHH is all video packages. And Roman Reigns was a complete afterthought on the show. The best part of the show was once again Paul Heyman. We also got some good action in the first hour with the IC Title stuff. The show gets a 3, and I hope I never see Wiz Khalifa on RAW ever again.

Widro

I’m not sure WWE can win me back for this year’s Wrestlemania 31 build, and tonight was not the show to do it. I did enjoy the Paul Heyman promo. If Randy Orton wanted to really beat down Seth Rollins like that, why did he do the last few weeks of wacky shenanigans, including helping Seth to pin Roman last week? I’m completely taken out of the Sting/HHH build because the fact that Sting is representing WCW is screaming to me that HHH will win and that makes me upset. If the Undertaker wasn’t retiring last year, ending the streak is completely baffling.

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