WWE has another turning point episode tonight on 'RAW' ( USA Network, 7pm C/8pm E) as they begin the important road to Wrestlemania and cover the fall out from last night's Royal Rumble pay per view. Superstars expected to appear tonight's show from Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena include Royal Rumble winner Batista, John Cena, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, and many more. Pro Wrestling Examiner runs down all the active story lines heading into tonight's live broadcast with this week's WWE RAW preview.
The Animal is heading to Wrestlemania
Despite a sold-out arena booing the victory, Batista had his first official WWE match in 4 and half years last night as entrant number 27 last night in the Royal Rumble. This cements Big Dave to challenge for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania 30 on Sunday April 6th in New Orleans. Batista will celebrate tonight on RAW, but expect him to call out current champion Randy Orton and set a tone for his title chance. It would not surprise me if somehow the corporate Authority involves themselves in an in-ring confrontation between Batista and Orton somehow.
Daniel Bryan and YES Movment nearly derail the Rumble
The hottest superstar apparently with the fans is the same wrestler who lost the opening match on the Royal Rumble, Daniel Bryan. If you go to social media websites, it seems all fans online want to talk about is how much WWE upset them by not having Bryan win the Rumble or even participate in the Rumble itself. That sentiment was certainly a audible part of last night’s live pay per view with angry fans chanting their disgust with almost anything that was not related to the bearded man from Amberdeen, Washington. The chanting got to a point that nearly derailed the WWE title match between Randy Orton and John Cena, yet both men worked their way under the challenging situation. If Daniel Bryan and his legions of finger-pumping fanatics want to bounce back from last night’s setbacks, they need get a momentum change in the form of a challenge to “the machine” or big victory in the ring.
The Wyatt Family’s new victim: John Cena
Bray Wyatt had the biggest night of his career last night. The former NXT star shined in the best match of the Royal Rumble, cleanly defeating his arch nemesis and fan favorite Daniel Bryan. Now the maniacal man moved on to his next foe fairly quickly, as later in the night Bray and his ghoulish thugs Erik Rowan and Luke Harper hit the ring to distract John Cena and cost him the WWE World title. The trio then beat on the 14-time World champ and making it abundantly clear that the fish their after now is one of the biggest in the WWE pond.
Just like Daniel Bryan, Cena will respond with a loud presence tonight on RAW. It’s interesting what role the leader of the Cenation will play in the road to Wrestlemania as it appears at this time that he will not compete for the WWE title at the big show on April 6th.
Oh you didn't know?! The WWE has new Tag Team Champions
The New Age Outlaws upset Cody Rhodes and Goldust to become 6 time WWE Tag Team Champions in the kickoff show last night before Royal Rumble went live on PPV. With this title win, it’s clear that Roaddogg and Billy Gunn are not just back for a nostalgia trip but a full fledge run as a veteran team with a proven record in WWE’s youth-heavy tag team division. Fans should look to see on RAW if the Outlaws acknowledge any alliances with the villainous corporate authority, Triple H who they have a long public friendship with.
Also expect some solid cracks to show in the bond between brothers that is Goldust and Cody Rhodes. In a slightly unseen moment last night in the Rumble match, Goldust accidently help eliminate his brother Cody. This could develop the team’s story and of course the fallout after losing the tag titles as well . There has been much chatter of both men getting a singles match against one another at Wrestlemania 30, if that match is indeed happening there could be the first chapter in that story tonight on RAW.
The Shield’s break up is writing on the wall at this point. Roman Reigns eliminated his team mates Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins in the Rumble last night, playing up the inner-strife of the trio recently seen on RAW and Smackdown. Reigns was an MVP of the Rumble, breaking the all-time elimination record set by Kane, and lasting until the very end before being eliminated by the winner Batista. Reigns will have to face the music with Ambrose and Rollins on RAW, which could see this team which dominated the last year of WWE call it quits for good. No matter what, WWE fans should expect upward momentum for all three young stars as they really delivered on their hype of as faction to be reckoned with.
WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee was absent along with the rest of the divas on the Royal Rumble last night. Expect the egomaniac AJ to have something to say about and set the stage for a new contender for her butterfly belt.
El Torito, the bull themed mascot of Los Matadores had a comedy driven segment in last night’s Rumble match. The little guy should have some shine in tonight’s RAW. Does anyone else except this Examiner predict a Hornswoggle vs. Torito showdown in the future?
Kofi Kingston did it again at the Rumble with another athletically valiant escape from elimination when he cat-walked a ringside guard rail and leaped back onto the ring apron to stay in the match. The Boom Dropper always gets his moments in at the Rumble, but it would be a bigger positive to see him use that attention to climb back into a bigger feud with another WWE superstar.