The road to Wrestlemania has begun and following Raw this past week, a few of the major matches seem to be set for the biggest event of the year.
The World Heavyweight title match opened the show and it was a decent match. That being said, it’s good to see Del Rio get a fresh run in the main event picture as a face because while he was previously the champion as a heel, he didn’t really get a major run. Even when Del Rio won the rumble a few years ago, he was defeated at Wrestlemania so that Edge could retire as champion and his subsequent reign as champion was somewhat lost in the shuffle, as he was basically a transitional champion during CM Punk’s initial run as champion on Raw. Some people doubted if Del Rio could get over as a face, but it’s worked and his ring announcer, Ricardo Rodriguez, is a major reason the crowd has cheered him. Rodriguez is extremely entertaining and he does really well in his role so when Del Rio saved him from The Big Show, it prompted the crowd to cheer him. There’s also Del Rio’s Mexican heritage and the latino audience is a major demographic for the WWE so that could also help Del Rio get over with the crowd.
The tag team title match was solid and Daniel Bryan/Kane retained the titles. The Rhodes Scholars are a great team and Bryan/Kane are extremely entertaining so hopefully feud continues because it keeps the tag division relevant on WWE TV. Specifically, The Daniel Bryan/Kane segments are great and they both deserve credit for being versatile performers. As for the Rhodes Scholars, they have potential to be main event competitors and it will be interesting to see how it evolves in the next few months.
I was surprised that the Rumble match wasn’t the main event of the show, but it was one of the better battle royal matches in the past few years. The match was well paced, including when the surprise entrants showed up and it was booked well, as many of the competitors were given the chance to show their skills in the Rumble. Chris Jericho was a great surprise and when he lasted nearly 48 minutes, it set up for another run. That being said, Jericho deserves a lot of credit, not just for being able to go 48 minutes during one of WWE’s major events, but also for adapting to the WWE scene when he returns to the company. He’s still a solid performer in the ring, which is why he remains relevant and hopefully there’s a Jericho/Ziggler match at Wrestlemania because it would be a good way to continue to push Ziggler to an eventual title run. Goldust, who has been resigned and released more than anyone else in the history of the WWE, made another return to the company for the Royal Rumble and it seems like there could be a Goldust/Cody Rhodes match at some point, which Goldust talked about prior to his most recent release from the company a few months ago. Aside from that, it’s good to see Goldust back on the roster because he’s always entertaining and a Goldust/Cody Rhodes feud could provide some good TV in the next few months. Bo Dallas, an NXT star, won a tournament to enter the rumble and was given a decent push for his WWE debut, as he went over 20 minutes in the match. He also eliminated Intercontinental champion,Wade Barrett and it seems like there could be a feud for the title on Raw. Weather or not, Bo Dallas can become a star on Raw remains to be seen, but it’s good that the WWE gave him a solid push for his debut, which can help him get over with the audience. John Cena won the rumble and it was obvious that The Rock would win the WWE title to set up a rematch against Cena at Wrestlemania.
The WWE title match was a good match with a lot of back and fourth action that provided a good story for the main event, including The Shield spot that led to the restart of the match and The Rock winning the title. Immediately, there was some back lash about the Cena/Rock rematch at Wrestlemania and while I agree that it doesn’t exactly help establish the future stars, it’s a smart business move because The Rock/Cena match will draw major money for the WWE. Does it speak well of the current stars when The Rock, who sporadically appears to promote a move, seemingly gets a more important spot? Probably not, but will it draw buy rates? Without a doubt. In some ways, The Rock automatically getting the top spot in the main event of the biggest event of the year almost indicates a lack of star power in the WWE, but again it will draw money for the WWE so from a marketing prospective, it’s mission accomplished. That being said, I think the WWE has the most solid roster they’ve had in a decade and there’s enough talent for a Wrestlemania main event, but The Rock offers the WWE a guaranteed draw. The only downside of the whole scenario is the past few years, the WWE has used The Rock as the main draw for Wrestlemania, but what stars will the WWE push when The Rock isn’t signed to appear at Wrestlemania? Regardless, the WWE audience will pay $55 to watch the Rock/Cena match and the bottom line is it will generate buy rates for the WWE.
Until next week
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