Who would have thought that the most talked about thing coming out of WWE Raw leading into the Battleground pay-per-view was about someone who won't be on that show?
But that was the case with the big news that Sting is a special character on the upcoming WWE 2k15 video game for anyone that pre-orders the game.
During the show, a commercial aired with an orchestra playing an ominous song while a shadowy figure rose down from above and walked through them armed with a bat. All the members of the orchestra at once stopped playing and turned their heads to show they were painted in black and white face paint. And then, there he was -- Sting -- looking over his shoulder at the screen.
For years, fans have been wondering, hoping, that the mysterious man would be leaping to the WWE. There have been plenty of opportunities over the years and he's come close but a deal couldn't be closed. Now, it looks like it is almost a done deal.
WWE and the Stinger have been negotiating for months and the belief that it's a matter of when, not if, it will happen. Then the question is how do they use him. Will he just be a part of features on the WWE Network? Could he make some appearances on Raw?
Or will he get in the ring one more time? He's been on record saying that he would like to be a part of WrestleMania before his career comes to an end. But the window is closing on that for the 55-year-old. For years, there have been rumors that he would square off against The Undertaker on the biggest stage in sports entertainment but no one is sure if Taker is actually going to return to the ring or retire at this point.
Regardless, fans were buzzing following the video and hoping that Sting finally makes his way to the WWE.
Other thoughts from Raw …
Yes, there is a pay-per-view on Sunday with Battleground taking place at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa. Actually, the card for the show looks pretty good for what originally looked like a just a "B" show before Summerslam.
But on this night, there was nothing that really stood out leading into it. There was supposed to be a big six-man tag match to close out the show featured John Cena, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose against Kane, Randy Orton and Seth Rollins. But at the start of the show, Cena and Reigns were bickering at one another in the ring while Ambrose told them to knock it off while standing in the back area. Moments later, he was attacked by the heels but Cena and Reigns obviously didn't care because they didn't come to the aid of their partner.
So the bout turned into a handicapped match with Ambrose not available and it turned out to be more about one-upping each other to proof that it was every man for himself on the pay-per-view with Cena, Reigns, Orton and Kane squaring off for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
There was nothing bad about it but it wasn't gripping. There was nothing that stood out that grabbed you and made you feel like you had to watch Battleground. Teammates were accidentally hitting one another, Orton intentionally gave an RKO to Kane and then Reigns laid him out with a spear to end the show.
Like I said, it was fine but there seemed to be that extra something missing. That was the case all night for the show. You had U.S. Champion Sheamus lose to The Miz with both of them in Sunday's battle royal to crown a new Intercontinental Champion, a title that is vacant following Wade Barrett's unfortunate shoulder injury.
So once again, someone holding a secondary title loses making it less important and they doing a battle royal for a championship. Honestly, they should probably ditch one of the titles -- preferably the U.S. Championship -- and actually have being a champion mean something. Instead, it's been almost a curse to have one of the belts since it never feels important and that champion becomes "just another guy".
The hottest segment of the show was the detente between Rusev and Lana against Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter. The crowd was behind this chanting "USA" to the horror of the Russians with both showing their disgust while praising Vladimir Putin. Lana was so disgusted at Colter who praised his country and its president that she slapped him in the face before Swagger and Rusev got into a tussle. Resev had the upper hand but when he went for a superkick, Swagger caught his foot and applied the ankle lock before the beast could escape the ring.
It was something very simple but very well done that got the crowd totally engaged. WWE has done a really good job with Rusev, making him into a monster and the first time he was in real peril, the audience ate it up.
Outside of that, everything else was just part of a show, seemingly slapped together. Chris Jericho and Bray Wyatt sounded off on one another but Wyatt was in the back rather than being face to face. For the first time, a crowd chanted boring during his promo which was strange since it was perfectly fine. Jericho ended up being jumped by the Wyatt Family learning up to him facing off against Wyatt at Battleground. It was good, by the book.
Cesaro lost again, this time to Big E. He's lost at least three week in a row on Raw and has definitely lost the momentum he had from a few months back. He didn't even have Paul Heyman come out with him for some reason. Heyman did appear backstage on the show later with Stephanie McMahon and Triple H, saying he had a foolproof plan C for them to get the world title off Cena if plan A or B didn't work. What's really weird is before that appearance, the announcers were arguing about Heyman's status in the company. JBL said he heard he was fired. Jerry Lawler claimed that he quit but Michael Cole said they were both wrong and he saw Heyman walking around before the show. Weird.
Maybe the weirdest thing is the crazy promos with Goldust and Stardust who was talking about the Cosmos or something. Just really weird stuff even though Cody Rhodes plays the character incredibly well, wherever it is going.
The other weird thing going on is the relationship between AJ Lee and Paige who will square off at Battleground for Lee's Divas Championship. The two have been praising one another, acting like they're friends but really aren't. Paige went so far to call Lee her frenemy, both a friend and an enemy. Strange.
And I can't forget about the return of the "Nature Boy" Ric Flair. He came to the ring after being introduced by Renee Young and once he got there, he began prancing around her, talking about how Virginia (they were in Richmond) is for lovers hoping to pick her up. She was a good sport and got onto business, asking Flair who he thought would leave Battleground as the champion. He picked his man John Cena and then Roman Reigns made his way to the ring for the main event. Flair stood there, shook Reigns' hand and then walked to the back. Before he got there, Cena came out and gave the big gold belt to Flair who held it up before leaving.
It wasn't much for Flair and you wonder how exactly they plan on using him. He has become such a crazy guy that you wonder how much trust they have in him on live television. I think he'll end up being used more as a company ambassador and won't appear on TV much.
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