bryan-brayThe Royal Rumble is less then two weeks away and the speculation surrounding as to who will win the match has begun. However, there are more immediate questions for tonight’s episode. How will Bryan fare in a tag match with Bray against The Usos? Will The Shield continue to show dissension? Will Roman Reigns gloat about his victory over CM Punk? Will anyone officially declare their entrance into the Royal Rumble? How will WWE hype Orton-Cena title match #279? What about Show-Lesnar? Plus, will there anything different in promoting Batista’s return or the same hype videos?

Oh You Didn’t Know?: How can hearing that signature phrase ring out in the arena not make an episode of RAW better? Road Dogg and Billy Gunn doing their pre-match schtick never gets old. Speaking of the New Age Outlaws, they certainly lived up to the Outlaw part of the name when they walked out on Punk during their match with The Shield. That’s certainly a swerve that came out of nowhere. It’s an interesting wrinkle to the Punk-Shield feud that could bring up some intriguing possibilities.

Orton: He might be whining a bit too much, but he doesn’t get enough credit for what he does in the ring. Sure his moveset isn’t as varied as other guys, but what he does he does well. Everything from his facial expressions to how he stalks his opponent fits very well in his persona. On a somewhat related note, he is put in a match with Kofi Kingston. How appropriate is that given their history? Then again maybe it wasn’t such a good idea given that he was upset by Kofi, which won’t do much for his mood.

JBL Great Quote of the Night: ‘I saw Mysterio and El Torito in the ring at the same time. I thought they were the same person!’

Lawler: There was a time when Jerry Lawler was an entertaining part of the commentary team, but that was when he was paired with JR. Now with the great chemistry between Cole and JBL, King just seems added on for nostalgia’s sake. It happens several times, but Cole and JBL will be having a great back-and-forth about a topic and then Jerry will suddenly interject with something lame, usually a joke that falls flat.  Then whenever the Divas are on the show, he slides back into his creepy old man gimmick. It’s not just that he’s lost effectiveness as a commentator, it’s that he’s disrupting what is otherwise excellent work by Cole and JBL and it harms the overall product. There easily could be a ‘Lawler Horrible Quote of the Night’ part in these columns.

WWE Network: After what seems like ages, the WWE Network has finally been announced. So this means we can probably expect the incessant self-promotion that this company is known for and utilizes so often. Tired of them shoving the App down our throats? Well it’ll be just like that with the Network, perhaps even worse. They’ll probably devote at least two segments each RAW to hyping it as well as working it into match commentary. Cole even went into a few of the media responses to the announcement, so of course they were all positive about how ‘groundbreaking’ this network will be.

Daniel Bryan: As great as it was to see Bryan finally beat on Bray after he joined the Wyatt Family, it’s a little soon don’t you think? After all it’s only been a matter of weeks. However, it just happened, so we’ll have to wait to get some resolution and not fully judge it until then.

Unified: With the WWE and WHC titles being unified, the talk will probably turn to unifying the midcard titles. One reason some would give for the unification is that the the US and IC titles have been ignored and don’t have any relevance. However, this would be a mistake. First of all, there would be fewer opportunities for midcard guys to have their time in the spotlight. Second, this would in turn further marginalize most of the roster. The problem isn’t that two titles is one too many, it’s that Creative really has no idea what they’re doing. Just because they don’t know how to utilize either title doesn’t mean one of them should go away. The solution then is to create storylines and angles where both belts are built up. Whether it’s making the US for newcomers and the IC for those moving up near the main event or having both regularly defended, better booking will definitely help.