WWE RAW Report (January 19, 2015): Sting returns, brings us back to Survivor Series


After Sting debuted at Survivor Series, my mind raced as to where the WWE would go from there. The potential programs and opportunities seemed endless. It turns out, after two months, we ended up in the exact same spot.

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing now; however, these past two months certainly have been. For the past two months, progression halted. Consequences never seemed to matter as the results from one week would be reversed the next. The WWE remained in that holding patterning, seemingly waiting for football season to end and for the Road to Wrestlemania to begin.

So, two months later, the heroes of Survivor Series, Dolph Ziggler, Ryback, and Erick Rowan found themselves fired. John Cena, the team captain, brought back The Authority, the same entity he fought to have permanently removed from the WWE. Sting, the surprise savior of the entire effort, vanished and only remembered through promos recalling his “vigilante” efforts.

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John Cena, after failing last week, received yet another chance and another match to get the fired Ziggler, Ryback, and Rowan back into the WWE. This time, Cena succeeded and continued the two month trend of results and consequences not mattering on bit, this time with the aid of Sting.

And all of a sudden, we are back at the end of November, with The Authority’s grand scheme nullified by Sting. The only difference this time around is that The Authority remain in power; however, all signs point to the same place as they did before. The Authority and their allies will head to their (presumably) final collision course with the babyfaces of the roster at Wrestlemania.

It feels as if it has taken forever to get to this point; however, it also feels as if this will serve as the actual start to the Road to Wrestlemania. Everything from this point forward should have some level of consequence, starting this Sunday at the Royal Rumble in which we learn what the main event for that evening will be. Keyword: should.

Five Takeaways from the Night

I’m back in high school again. A Smackdown! match actually feels somewhat important. Photo credit: WWE

1) Don’t look now, but a Smackdown! main event got a build.

Yes, it would be very easy for me to rage on the ending to Bray Wyatt vs. Daniel Bryan, especially with Kane interfering to set up yet another match between him and Bryan. However, I’m honestly more floored that the WWE actually bothered to build a match on Smackdown!, a show that more or less hasn’t mattered in years.

Not only did the match receive a build, it actually got a stipulation of consequence: Bryan’s entry into the Rumble is on the line. Of course, the chances of Bryan actually losing that shot are about the same as John Cena losing clean on RAW or the Intercontinental Champ winning a non-title match. Despite that, it’s still a refreshing change.

It’s also a scary change. The WWE has done a rather poor job as of late filling in three hours of programming on RAW without chunks of it being horrid filler. I’m not sure, at this moment, if the WWE can fill five hours of programming a week and grab my attention for most of it. Despite that, Daniel Bryan doing everything in his power, including taking a very uncomfortable number of spots around his head/neck, to light the WWE on fire again is a very welcome change.

Well, if you are going to have The Ascension run down every tag team from the 90’s in their promos, this was an obvious result. Photo credit: WWE

2) How to make the silliness of The Ascension work with your nostalgia ploy.

I already had major fears going into this RAW with the entire #RAWReunion promotion. Once the full list of old-timers coming back to the show went public, I really thought the entire show would go nowhere downhill fast thanks to any segment featuring these special guests.

Now mix in all those greats that had their heyday back in the 90s and mix in a tag team with a ridiculous gimmick, The Ascension. Further, have this team do nothing but run down popular tag teams from that same era and then do nothing but fight no-name “local talent” jobbers.

Regular readers of this column will likely remember that, last week, I wondered what both the endgame and the near term plan for these goofballs were. #RAWReunion was the answer to that question.

Yes, objectively, this was beyond stupid and dumb. You bring up a new, hot talent from NXT and then have them get their tails beat by the Outsiders, APA, and New Age Outlaws who all saw their heyday in the 90s and early aughts. However, The Ascension has done nothing but run down such tag teams in their promos and then decided to run out and confront one of those same teams to prove their words. Then, the old cagey vets ganged up on them and gave them a damn receipt for their arrogance.

Tell me that doesn’t make all the sense in the world from a continuity perspective. As much as I rag on the WWE for never having their stories make sense from a continuity perspective, I’d be a hypocrite for bagging on this. The WWE set up a plan, stuck with it, and here’s a payoff.

Plus, I wouldn’t jump on the “guys from NXT are getting buried again” soapbox. Two of the guys that did practically all the beat down work, the New Age Outlaws, were wrestling with the WWE around this time last year. They can still go and the new team from NXT can get their revenge on the old guys to get back over and get some heat for destroying your precious nostalgia team.

Video source for GIF: WWE

3) Cesaro and Tyson Kidd are going to become the most GIFable tag team ever.

Seriously, just look at that.

Of course, they lost, but still, LOOK AT THAT!

4) If Mizdow doesn’t get a Wrestlemania slot, I’m going to be so sad.

Even X-Pac knows he’s genius:

5) I want to drive home a point about non-title losses.

Especially when it comes to the IC title. That belt used to be a stepping stone to main event status and now:

That’s just all kinds of inexcusable. This needs to change in the worst way. Either that or no one should ever aspire to win the IC title.