The only man who could show up on Raw and get a half-hour segment made a return, as The Rock came back for the first time in over a year Monday night.
Only The Rock could return to Raw in the fashion that he did. He showed up and had weird encounters backstage with The Miz, Big Show, Rusev and Lana. He was ridiculously energetic, and his enthusiasm radiated to the crowd. By the time he made it to the ring, the crowd was already worked into a frenzy, which he worked on by talking to some cosplayers in the crowd. He went to the ring, where he was then confronted by The New Day. Having one of the most entertaining talkers of all time encounter the most entertaining wrestling act of the past few years was something fans had been clamoring for if The Rock would ever return, and WWE made it happen. It ended with The Usos coming out to help The Rock lay out The New Day.
While the segment didn't accomplish a ton, sometimes a wrestling fan has to enjoy entertainment for entertainment's sake. That's what was provided on Raw. Some asked why give someone like The Rock 30 minutes if it wasn't to set up a future match, which is a valid question. However, it provided an immensely entertaining segment, and while it didn't do a ton, The New Day's inclusion elevated them. The Rock, while running them down of course, even gave them some praise. It just adds a new wrinkle to the Usos-New Day feud, and that's not a bad thing.
It is somewhat frustrating that WWE needs The Rock to have a segment as entertaining as this. While there might never be another Rock, they do have entertaining guys on the roster that could carry a long segment without getting boring. However, if they are going to use The Rock, and they should whenever they can, this is the way to do it. Fans don't need him randomly interjected into a storyline. They just want to see The Most Electrifying Man in Entertainment (yes, I intentionally left out the "Sports" part of it) do his thing. And that's what we saw on Monday night.
The rest of Raw:
* While The Rock dominated the show, we did get a bit of storyline progression. Triple H started the night talking about why the title meant so much to him, and generally showed his ego and god complex, which isn't a terrible thing. They said that Triple H wouldn't defend the title again until WrestleMania, which is a fine decision under these circumstances. Instead, the main event at Fastlane would be a No. 1 contender match. At the end of the night, after Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose beat Sheamus and Rusev, The Authority announced that the Fastlane main event would be Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar.
While this is going to be a great main event, it doesn't make a ton of sense in the midst of this storyline. Triple H and The Authority just spent a month desperately trying to get the belt off of Reigns. Why would he give Reigns a chance at a title shot right away? Of course we knew Reigns would be getting in that match, but at least make him demand his rematch clause. Don't make it seem like he was willingly given a title shot.
* AJ Styles made his official Raw debut in a singles match against Chris Jericho. I actually thought that might be a match at Fastlane, or even WrestleMania, so to get it on Raw was a bit of a surprise. This was a solid match for a debut, and showed off some of what he could do. However, one thing that was really striking was how Styles looked next to Jericho. Jericho dwarfed him. Everyone knows Styles isn't the biggest guy, but I think only in the upcoming weeks will we fully realize how small he is, and I wonder how that might affect him in his WWE run. He once again didn't use the Styles Clash, teasing it but not hitting it. I wonder if part of that is him not wanting to rely on it because he might not be able to use it against some of the bigger members of the roster.
* Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and Charlotte continue to revolve around each other. Sasha beat Becky in a somewhat disappointingly short match. Charlotte came out after and attacked both Sasha and Becky after the match. It will be fascinating to see exactly what direction they go. Can they hold off the Triple Threat until WrestleMania? Or will they pull the trigger on the Triple Threat at Fastlane, and do something bigger at WrestleMania? This right here is what people were waiting for when the Divas Revolution started, so WWE needs to take advantage.
* Kevin Owens beat Dolph Ziggler. Owens was selling some of the effects of the Last Man Standing match, though the selling came and went. It will be interesting to see where Owens goes from here. Based on the Rumble, he could be feuding with any of Dean Ambrose, AJ Styles or Sami Zayn. It's a nice position to be in for the company, as they can make any combination of solid matches in the upcoming weeks.
* Kalisto defended his U.S. title in a pretty decent match against The Miz. I like having The Miz wrestle here, just because he does well against smaller opponents, and it's good to remind people that he is more than just a mouthpiece every now and then.
* Bray Wyatt dismantled Kane in a singles match. After the match, all four of the Wyatt Family members hit finishers on Kane, and left him lying. I have a feeling we'll continue to see segments like this as they build Bray Wyatt as a dominant enough force to face Brock Lesnar.
* Flo Rida was in attendance, and was confronted by Heath Slater and the Social Outcasts. After Bo Dallas soundly defeated Flo Rida in a rap battle, Bo and Curtis Axel lost to the Dudleys.
* Paige and Natalya beat Brie Bella and Alicia Fox. Earlier in the day, it was announced that Nikki Bella is going to need neck surgery, and might even be forced to retire.
Thoughts? Questions? Leave them in the comment section, email me or find me on Twitter: @TheAOster. You can also find my podcast, Jobbing Out, at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/jobbing-out/id998790026?mt=2