Raw opened last night in its usual fashion, with a long talking segment featuring The Authority. This one was a little different, however, as it was a farewell from Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. As the two spewed venom at the WWE Universe for applauding their demise, Daniel Bryan interrupted the duo to say his own goodbye.
A surprise title change took place on tonight’s episode of Raw, as Luke Harper defeated Dolph Ziggler with plenty of help from The Authority to capture the Intercontinental Championship.
The switch makes perfect sense in the way it played out. The Authority beat down Ziggler before the opening bell rang, helping Harper win the strap. It adds fuel to the fire for Ziggler and likely means bigger things are coming for him.
Grumpy Cat, the internet-famous cat who has been exploited by its owners for all the cash they can squeeze out of its frowny face, will appear on next Monday’s Raw, the go-home show to Survivor Series. It’s all part of a promotional tie-in with the Lifetime movie, “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever.”
While mainstream publicity is obviously the desire of WWE with this move, it’s sure to annoy the diehard fans who have already been forced to sit through painful segments on Raw featuring Kathie Lee Gifford, Hoda Kotb and Jerry Springer in recent weeks.
On the other hand, all press is good press and these one-off segments are a great time for a bathroom break.
(Image via Lifetime)
“Plan C” was revealed to be Brock Lesnar, who will challenge John Cena for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at SummerSlam, as has been rumored. Randy Orton was seemingly Triple H’s first choice but Roman Reigns wasn’t having it, brawling with the Viper while Triple H stood in the ring befuddled. That brought out Paul Heyman, who introduced “Plan C,” leading Lesnar to the ring where both men shook hands with the COO, sealing the deal.
Heyman then cut one of the best promos we’ve seen in a long time, much of which is in the above video.
WWE introduced a number one contender tournament for the Intercontinental Championship during last night’s Raw and held the four first round matches on the show. Rob Van Dam defeated Alberto Del Rio, Cesaro neutralized Mark Henry, Sheamus took down Jack Swagger, and Wade Barrett bullhammered Dolph Ziggler to advance.
The tournament will be stretched out over a few weeks, with the winner ultimately challenging Big E for the title, presumably at the Extreme Rules special event. I love that they’re not hotshotting the tourney and letting it play out a few weeks, giving the tournament and the title some more meaning.
The next round will see Rob Van Dam face Cesaro, while Wade Barrett will battle Sheamus.
After a few weeks of teasing, Evolution is no longer a mystery as Triple H, Batista and Randy Orton are back on the same page. After a beatdown following an 11-on-3 match that pitted all the midcard heels against The Shield, that familiar Motorhead theme blared and out came Evolution. After continuing the beatdown of Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose, Triple H grabbed the mic and uttered the excellent line, “Believe… in Evolution.”
Seems like that rumored Shield v. Evolution six-man tag at Extreme Rules is happening.
Pardon me while I gush, but Paul Heyman is so amazing. Earlier in the night he was loudly booed during his incredible promo about Brock Lesnar breaking Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak. Then, when Cesaro tells Zeb Colter that he’s not a “Zeb Colter Guy” after all but he’s a “Paul Heyman Guy,” Heyman gets a huge babyface pop.
The reality era is in full effect.
NXT fan favorite Paige debuted on Raw last night, interrupting AJ Lee’s promo and earning an impromptu Divas Championship match. Paige won after countering the Black Widow finisher into the (poorly executed but that’s okay) Paige Turner. It was a cool moment in a night filled with them, and another indication that the emphasis on new talent is continuing in the WWE.
Last night’s Raw definitely felt like the beginning of a new era, with a strong influx of NXT talent appearing on the show. WWE also teased the “big league” call-ups of Adam Rose and Bo Dallas. Vignettes are underutilized in WWE and it’s nice to see them coming back into fashion.
Paul Heyman is a promo God. Here, he cuts an amazing promo about Brock Lesnar defeating The Undertaker at WrestleMania, ending the Streak. Later in the night, Heyman would get a hero’s welcome when Cesaro declared himself a “Heyman Guy.” Paul Heyman is that damn good.