10 Thoughts: WWE RAW 1.18.16 (Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, Chris Jericho, Bray Wyatt)
1. I know I cannot be the only person holding their breath for Chris Jericho to do something big. Sure it’s ‘Mania time and he could be back just for the paycheck but that’s never really been the case before so why should it be now? At first I thought we might be seeing a heel Jericho to feud with guys like Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns but after his interaction with Stephanie tonight, I’m not so sure. I guess I’ll just have to keep hoping to see if Reigns eats a Codebreaker to end the show tonight.
2. I just don’t understand how a character like Bray Wyatt could have fallen so far so quickly. The last 2 WrestleManias he faced John Cena & the Undertaker respectively and was built up to be “worthy” to stand across the ring from each man each year. Now when the WWE needs strong, young heels to feed to Roman Reigns, Wyatt has been valiantly trying to stay afloat after being destroyed by the Brothers of Destruction. I don’t know who Wyatt is penciled in to face in Texas but unless he’s facing The Rock, the only way for him to go is down the card and I don’t know how much longer he can stay relevant.
3. I was among the few people who was OK with the Royal Rumble being for the WWE championship and the “One Versus All” billing & one of the main reasons why was because it was something different. Sure they had similar situations during the McMahon/Austin era but Austin never had to defend the championship in the Rumble and I saw this as a twist where Reigns could lose the championship & move onto a match with Triple H at WrestleMania without losing momentum. Putting him at entrant #1 lost any goodwill they had built by once again desperately trying rehash the Austin magic. Roman Reigns isn’t Stone Cold and nor should he be. I truly believe Reigns could be successful as his own character but dammit he’s never going to get there as long as the WWE is viewed as trying too hard to make him a star.
4. Nice move having an angle leading to the Diva’s title match on Sunday instead of just booking the match as usual. It’s the little things like this that help polish the prestige of the championship again and make it seem like something important and not a politically correct gimmick. I’ve liked what they’ve done with Becky Lynch and Charlotte so it’s nice to see them get time on a major WWE event.
5. Dean Ambrose versus Kevin Owens in a last man standing match at the Royal Rumble is going to be damn fun and fits both characters perfectly. This would be the perfect situation to book both guys as strong in the Rumble and play off the fact that they just wrestled a brutal match & now have to be in the Rumble match as well. It would be another great way to bolster the toughness of both characters leading into WrestleMania.
6. It’s sad that the WWE back pedaled on the Kalisto US Championship win. Alberto Del Rio is a proven flop since his return and the Kalisto win last week really sparked a lot of interest in a championship that hasn’t meant anything since John Cena lost the belt. I’ve only really seen upsides in pushing Kalisto right now so hopefully the rematch at the Royal Rumble is to put the championship back on him for a while.
7. The New Day versus the Usos again for the tag team titles just screams creative block. While both teams have great chemistry, the tag team division has completely flat-lined. At a time when the WWE is busting at the seams with talent, there’s no reason for the same two teams to be rehashed every month.
8. JC and I just talked about how being on NXT shouldn’t be looked down upon & being “called up” shouldn’t be a thing anymore. Tyler Breeze is the example I used then and it was just shoved in our faces again this week. Breeze, in NXT, was a veteran star that was being used to get new talent over while holding a position on the roster between the main event and mid-card that always needs to be filled. Now he’s the one taking a pinfall on team that consisted of Stardust and the Ascension. I was never a huge fan of his but I hate seeing his talent wasted on the main roster.
9. It’s funny, I don’t know if Reigns would have been booed that much if Brock was able to get some offense in. It seemed as if the crowd wasn’t really down on Reigns but just wanted to see Lesnar do his thing. This was going to be a problem if they ever were going to revisit this rivalry so no one should be surprised. They’re lucky this is happening at the Rumble instead of as a one-on-one rematch since that would destroy the Reigns’ crowd reaction.
10. Of course they would push Bray Wyatt over Brock Lesnar on the same show I almost gave up on Wyatt. And I was wrong, Wyatt/Lesnar at WrestleMania would absolutely be as big as Bray Wyatt’s last two WrestleManias. But would this be another year where Wyatt loses to the bigger star? Though, Wyatt beating Brock would put him right into title contention and would easily rehabilitate his career. This week’s RAW did little to clear up the cloudy Royal Rumble and WrestleMania pictures, which the uncertainty can be a lot of fun but only if the WWE has a definitive script they’re following for the next few months.