Elimination Chamber airs live on the WWE Network this Sunday and WWE made their last stop before the event at the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island for Monday Night Raw. The show was a mixed bag but ultimately, it must be considered a success as the WWE Title match between Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins was presented excellently as something fans ought not to miss. Here are five things we learnt from last night’s Raw:
5) Lana is on Team Dolph
There has been a lot of speculation regarding Lana’s future on WWE TV after her recent split from the Bulgarian Brute Rusev, but she seemed to declare her allegiance quite clearly on Raw. After scoring a straightforward win against R Truth, Rusev demanded his former valet join him in the ring where he claimed he owned her as she had cost him his Payback match with John Cena. However, Lana revealed she would no longer be Rusev’s victim and met Dolph Ziggler on the stage to kiss as Rusev looked on and threw a fit. Who can blame Rusev for flipping out after losing the beautiful Lana?
4) Zack Ryder is still employed by WWE
One could be forgiven for thinking that Zack Ryder had been wished the best of luck in his future endeavours by the WWE hierarchy but he made a rare appearance on this week’s Raw. Long Island’s very own Ryder answered John Cena’s United States Championship Open Challenge to a huge ovation from his hometown crowd. While the Zack Ryder ship has definitely sailed, this was a nice moment for Ryder, who WWE dropped the ball on and could have made a lot of money from when he was hot not so long ago. Predictably, after a few near falls, John Cena overcame the challenge and prevailed with an Attitude Adjustment to retain his US Title.
3) New Day for the WWE tag team division
When it was revealed WWE would be placing a fresh emphasis on the WWE tag team division, many fans were pessimistic about these claims. Back in the hey-day of WWE programming, the tag team division was an integral part of the company’s success and die-hard fans have longed to see that standard of tag team wrestling return to our screens. It seems that, while we are not at that level just yet, WWE are on the right path to returning to the genre’s glory days and it’s The New Day faction leading the way. The team of Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods have excelled in their heel roles preaching positivity and claiming to be better than you and I. They are matched against one of the best technical tag teams ever seen in the form of Cesaro and Tyson Kidd and these two teams have been stealing many a show recently. On Sunday, The New Day’s WWE Tag Team Title’s will be defended in an epic six-team Elimination Chamber match against Los Matadores, The Prime Time Players, The Ascension, The Lucha Dragons and Cesaro and Tyson Kidd. The tag team division is again becoming one of the cornerstones of WWE television.
2) NXT is cooler than WWE
NXT continues to make headlines and go from strength to strength as after Samoa Joe’s shock debut at Unstoppable last Wednesday, champion Kevin Owens made another appearance on Raw last night. After defeating Zack Ryder, John Cena was ambushed again by the impressive Owens who laid him out with a pop-up powerbomb. After stomping on Cena’s US Title while raising his own NXT Championship, the crowd went crazy for the no-nonsense fighter. While it would have been nice to have seen something a bit different from the previous week, the segment still served its purpose in hyping Sunday’s intriguing match between Cena and Owens; the two poster boys for WWE and NXT respectively. Judging by the crowd’s reaction, it is obvious the crowd are very much into the fresh NXT product and the UFC-esque approach of their champion Kevin Owens. The possibilities and consequences of this match alone makes Elimination Chamber a fascinating PPV and the fact that Cena’s US Title will not be on the line suggests we may be in for a surprise win for Owens.
1) Dean Ambrose is ready for the main event
The whole premise of last night’s Raw was built on the storyline that Dean Ambrose would have to sign the contract for his Elimination Chamber match with WWE Champion Seth Rollins by the end of the night to make it official. In true WWE style, the odds were stacked against the ‘Lunatic-Fringe’ and we even saw Ambrose arrested and taken away in a Police van for knocking over a camera man in a backstage melee. As the Authority bragged and appreciated their work in the ring to close the show, we found out that it was in fact Rollins who did the damage to the camera man, which begged the question; shouldn’t he be arrested now? Regardless, Roman Reigns entered the equation to crash the party and as he was becoming victim to the numbers game, Ambrose returned to the arena in the same Police van he was taken away in earlier to an almighty pop from the crowd. The segment was eerily reminiscent of Stone Cold Steven Austin crashing Vince McMahon’s party on a beer truck back in the Attitude Era days. Reigns and Ambrose laid waste to the Authority and the latter finally signed the contract to make his match with former Shield comrade Seth Rollins for the WWE Title on Sunday official. This was a great way to end the show, develop Dean Ambrose’s character and finally set up a fresh and exciting WWE Title match to main event a PPV.
While it certainly had its dips, last night’s Raw was a solid show which served its purpose but WWE must now deliver at Elimination Chamber on Sunday.