24 hours after WWE Creative angered a large majority of the WWE Universe at Royal Rumble, things seemed to cool off a bit.
That is, until Raw kicked off with The Authority - Triple H and Stephanie McMahon - in the ring to discuss the next pay per view, the Elimination Chamber at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn. They were greeted with Daniel Bryan chants, and responded with mocking the fans for being babies.
The Authority announced that Randy Orton, the WWE World Heavyweight champion, would defend his belt inside the Elimination Chamber against five other superstars. The fans let The Authority hear who they wanted see, and it was not the power couple in the ring. They wanted Bryan instead.
The fans got their wish as Bryan came down to the ring to demand his inclusion in the match. Instead of giving Bryan what he wanted, Triple H delivered all three members of The Shield. While they were beating down on Bryan, Sheamus and John Cena came to his rescue. This set up Raw’s main event pitting Shield against Bryan, Cena and Sheamus. The winning team would all earn spots inside the Elimination Chamber.
And after Sunday’s debacle in the eyes of the fans, Monday made it right. The team of Bryan, Cena and Sheamus won, but a wrinkle was added into the equation. With Cena about to make Roman Reigns tap off by submission, the STF, the Wyatt Family came out and broke up the match. But their interference caused a disqualification and put the victory on Cena’s team.
This can go in a ton of different directions now. If Bryan happens to win at Elimination Chamber, Orton would demand a rematch at Wrestlemania XXX. But Batista holds the main event challenger spot due to winning the Rumble. This could set up a triple threat match in which Bryan has to overcome beating Orton and Batista, both of whom are friends and were once in a faction together.
If Bryan does not win at Elimination Chamber, it will likely knock him out of the title program for Wrestlemania, meaning WWE would have to salvage how hot his character is with a match against somebody who will excite the fans. And unfortunately, there aren’t too many options left.
As for The Shield, this could set up a feud with the Wyatts, pitting two teams with phenomenal in-ring abilities as well as the ability to play the psychological games with their promos. I can’t think of a single bad match/promo that either team has cut, and they will build a nice program together for the duration of the feud.
Lesnar’s Tirade -- If Brock Lesnar wants something, he takes it. Lesnar, and his representative, Paul Heyman, came down to the ring to demand that Raw GM Brad Maddox give him one of two alternatives - a title match against Randy Orton or a No. 1 contender’s match against the Royal Rumble champion Batista later that night.
Lesnar hadn’t heard back from The Authority in time and took matters into his own hands to speed up the process. He disrupted a great tag match between Cody Rhodes/Goldust and Tag Team champions, The New Age Outlaws, and beat the challengers with a chair after F5-ing them.
Lesnar never got his answer on Monday, which means we will likely see him wreak havoc on next Monday’s Raw. By then, it will be announced by Triple H that Lesnar will either get one of his two matches, either with Batista at Elimination Chamber or with Orton inside the Chamber. Either way, it could set up a scenario in which Bryan would have to cross paths with the vicious Lesnar, and that’s what’s best for business.
Tag Team Picture -- The Rhodes brothers lost their rematch to the Outlaws due to outside interference from Lesnar. This could lead to the eventual demise of their team and set up the possible matchup at Mania between the two.
This will also allow the Outlaws to have one more run as champs before they pass the torch off. The Usos are expected to be the next champions. They’re exciting in the ring and the fans love their entrance and gimmick. Then there are the Real Americans - Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro - who are getting a push again.
Another tag team that could get some consideration for the straps include Ryback/Curtis Axel, and Rey Mysterio/Sin Cara, who were on the losing side of their matches with the former two teams mentioned. And if Erick Rowan and Luke Harper (Wyatt Family) weren’t in the infancy of a feud with members of the Shield they would be considered too.
WWE Hall of Fame Inductees -- On Monday, it was announced that Jake “The Snake” Roberts will join the Ultimate Warrior as inductees to the WWE Hall of Fame. Roberts made a surprise return on Jan. 6 when he returned at the end of Old School Raw.
Three Questions for Next Week
-Will Brock Lesnar get what he wants from The Authority?
-Are there cracks in The Shield?
-CM Punk was not on this past Monday’s Raw. What’s the next step in his feud with Kane?
Power Rankings - The best performers of the past week - Jan. 27
1 Batista - In one week he returned and won the Royal Rumble. Watch out, Randy Orton!
2 Roman Reigns - 12 elimination in the Rumble. Need I say more?
3 Bray Wyatt - He beat Daniel Bryan at the Rumble and is going after John Cena
4 Randy Orton - He got some help from The Wyatts, but he’s still the champ.
5 CM Punk - Lasted about 50 minutes in Rumble, but is on The Authority’s bad side.
6 Daniel Bryan - Despite losing at the Royal Rumble he’s the hottest star in WWE.
7 Big E Langston - He’s a rising star as Intercontinental champ.
8 The Usos - They are the hottest tag team right now, and will be champs very soon.
9 Seth Rollins - Hung in there with Punk for most of the Rumble as No. 2.
10 Sheamus - Returned at the Rumble and looked good.