It's the end of an era for the WWE. The go-home show for the Elimination Chamber comes this Sunday, so this week will be the last full week in a world without the WWE Network. So on Monday night did the WWE entice you enough to shell out 45 bucks for possibly one last time on cable pay-per-view?
The CeNation leader kicked off the show and John Cena laid out the "by the book" themed promo the week before a pay-per-view. That's not meant to be a bad thing. Cena gave somewhat of a decent build to the Chamber match before being interrupted by Cesaro and Zeb. Solid pop for Cesaro, and rightfully so after a big week in the ring. As of "The Face of the WWE" talk continues, Cesaro raises the stakes and says he will be the face of America! Everyone starts to make their way out, Sheamus, then Christian, then Orton, and then.... YES! Daniel Bryan. Big pop for DB. He had a short, simple promo to hype the YES Movement and his push for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. his old buddy Kane came out to get everyone's attention, and now we've got a full card. Orton vs. Sheamus, DB vs. Christian, and Cena vs. Cesaro.
Overall this was a good segment to kick the show off, even if it was rather simple to piece together. Orton generated some decent heat playing the kiss-ass. You can tell the fans are entirely into Daniel Bryan, and Cesaro too.
Onto DB vs. Christian for a fairly entertaining match up. Christian has been a long-term workhorse for the company, so this match came as no surprise. Good delivery from both guys, and in a way, they both looked pretty strong heading into Sunday. Big props to Christian for quickly flipping the switch and playing the heel in that match, throwing out a few YES chants to mock the fans. I don't think that's a task that many can just go out there and do. DB picks up the win with a roll up, good way to end it.
But wait! Kane is angry. The Director of Operations ends up scheduling himself vs. DB in a match right after. Kane beats up on the shoulder of DB to keep selling the "injury". Kane gets himself DQ'd and laughs his way back to his office.
Next we continue to have hits dropped on us that Renee Young will indeed be the reason that The Shield breaks up. This week, instead of Roman Reigns calling her "baby girl", Seth Rollins calls her "sweetheart". She was even wearing The Shield's colors! But in all seriousness, another backstage segment with The Shield to tease their cracks. Dean Ambrose is the jerk, and it will only be a matter of time before Reigns doesn't take it anymore. The message is delivered to the Wyatt Family for the Elimination Chamber on Sunday.
The Best of 7 series between Fandango and Santino was next. Before the match they showed a good video package for Emma. She'll be a good talent to have around, but even with that, they need to do something other than Fandango vs. Santino in a simple one-on-one match to showcase Summer Rae and Emma. Maybe try a mixed tag match on Raw or Smackdown one of these weeks? Santino went in for a kiss to Emma and it cost him. Fandango picked up the win and we all moved on quickly.
Power vs. Power came with Roman Reigns taking on Mark Henry. Good match to have, and the build for Reigns continue to rise at a good pace. Reigns picks up the win after a spear, and afterwards cranky Ambrose stomped on Henry. Reigns laughs at Ambrose, but here come the Wyatts! At least on the big screen. Another week, another great promo from Bray Wyatt. Reigns calls them out, and out they came!
The feel is electric behind this match up. Another confrontation was teased, and the fans are itching for this matchup to come on Sunday.
Now to speed it up... Jack Swagger defeated Kofi Kingston (poor Kofi), then Big E defeated 2MB (Where's Heath?). The highlight was that during the Big/2MB match, Zeb continued to heckle Big E. We all love Big E, but a good heckle is always fun.
Wait, what's this? John Cena has a match before 10pm!? And man, did it turn out to be a damn good match. I've been hearing the rumblings for a while that Cena was a big supporter of Cesaro in the locker room, so figured Cena would be happy to work with him. These guys put on a great match with a lot of power coming from both sides. And YES we did get a big swing from Cesaro on Cena. A handful of good exchanges back and forth with some strong counters, but Cena ends up getting the pinfall.
I noticed a handful on Twitter complaining about Cena not putting over Cesaro. I don't agree with that. I think Cena did put Cesaro over by elevating him to another level with this match. Cesaro will have his day, and maybe it will one day be over Cena. Expect him to be a big player in the Chamber.
Now to make the Wyatt Family look strong. They faced off with Los Matadores and Sin Cara, so we officially know that Sin Cara is not El Torito. The Wyatt Family won. The match was OK.
To prep for the New Age Outlaws defending their titles against the Uso's, we had Billy Gunn take on Jey Uso with Road Dogg and Jimmy Uso on commentary. Match was fine, and the commentary work did well to get set for the match. The Outlaws have been a good, even if old, addition to the tag team program. Not sure who will win, but could see The Outlaws hanging on to the titles till Mania. Oh yea, Jey Uso got the win.
Finally, the main event we've all been waiting for; Sheamus vs. Orton! Last time these two faced off on Raw (at least I think so), was when the post-Mania crowd in NJ hijacked the match. Before the match Sheamus had a simple backstage promo for a send-off to the Chamber. He hyped the right elements to the match. As for the main event, it was fine. Not bad, but not memorable. It is only Raw before the WWE Network, so they won't go crazy. Sheamus and Orton tried to mix it up a bit, ending up outside the ring and even dismantling the table. The King gave a fair effort at keeping it up though. The match ends with The Shield coming out and taking down Sheamus. That only brings out the calvary though. Here comes Cena, Daniel Bryan, CESARO, Christian! They're all here to fight! And now The Wyatt Family!!
The Wyatt Family emerges in the ring and just as Raw is about to go off the air, they finally exchange blows with The Shield. We were given about 40 seconds of a brawl between the Wyatts, the Shield, and the six guys in the Chamber before going off the air, so a smart way to close it out. Always leave on a high note!
Decent episode of Raw. Some highs, some so-so moments, but no low points. So hey, we'll take it! Cesaro vs. Cena was the highlight, but there are easily 12 guys spread out between two matches that the fans should have an invested interest in heading into Elimination Chamber. The mid card is put together pretty well too. Should be an interesting week for the WWE. After Elimination Chamber, the network comes, and the rumors are saying that means Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker are coming too.