Curtis Axel is out and he has a microphone. He talks about the controversy from the Royal Rumble being the fact that he was never eliminated. I liked it, but commentary totally buries it by laughing at him. Axel is not a comedy character so why do this? Dean Ambrose interrupts and tosses him over the top, eliminating him. He gets on the microphone and brings up pinning Bad News Barrett two weeks ago before saying that he's coming for the Intercontinental Title. While I'm interested in Ambrose/Barrett, he's going for the IC Title while Rollins and Reigns are in the WWE Title picture. That should tell you where these three stand with the company. Axel gets back in to attack but is taken out with the Dirty Deeds. Fine segment. After a Black History Month vignette, the Ascension take on Goldust and Stardust in a Smackdown rematch. We're two for two in those. The Ascension win despite the negative response from commentary. After the match, Goldy and Stardust have some tension and Stardust storms off. Returning from commercial, Goldust tries to calm him down and calls him Cody, which only upsets Stardust more. Please, give me back Cody Rhodes. It's all I ask for.
Dolph Ziggler takes on Bray Wyatt next and this delivered. I know that I've gotten on Bray's case before because he hasn't had many standout matches, but this was another. He has been booked incredibly strong since November to try and save his character. The John Cena and Chris Jericho feuds did nothing for him, but earning wins over Bryan, Ambrose and now Ziggler is huge. The match was really good, we got a cool spot where Dolph nailed the Fameasser only for Bray to get up instantly and hit Sister Abigail. They're doing a good job rebuilding Bray. Backstage, the Authority name drop Randy Orton so I guess he's returning soon. Divas time as the Bella Twins are on commentary for Paige vs. Alicia Fox. No Natalya with Paige tonight. Maybe she's upset that Pagie got a singles title shot. Brie is TERRIBLE on commentary, but Nikki plays the bitch very well. After a Paige win, Fox holds her while the Bellas spray her with something. I guess it was spray tan but it looked black so that was odd. At least it helped build the match and wasn't just random. Miz comes out with his assistant to face Sin Cara. Another short but solid match. Mizdow was forced to stand still but the fans still chanted for him. He would randomly break into mimicking the Miz, which distracted Miz and led to a win for Sin Cara. Fun angle but nothing special.
Bray Wyatt cuts a promo backstage, where it seems like he's targeting the Undertaker. Rusev takes on Erick Rowan in his punishment match. As expected, Rowan loses very quickly. John Cena continues to be the worst face from a kayfabe standpoint as he doesn't help Rowan while he's in the Accolade for a while. Rusev and Lana play a "movie" of him kicking ass but the Russian flag gimmick gets stuck and doesn't come down. The fans pop and credit to both of them for playing the frustration well. After a discussion between Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan backstage, we go to our main event. While Bray/Ziggler was really good, Bryan/Rollins stole the show. The fact that Raw can be main evented by Tyler Black and Bryan Danielson is a thing of beauty. They put on a great match with shenanigans from J&J Security and Big Show. Reigns got involved and Speared the hell out of Show before delivering a Superman punch to Rollins that led to the win for Bryan. Okay, so now the WWE is in an interesting spot. Bryan vs. Reigns is a big deal because if Reigns wins, the crowd still dislikes it, but if Bryan wins, what happens to Roman? I'm intrigued.
This was a solid episode of Raw. There wasn't really any fluff as everything had a point. We had two standout matches in Bray/Ziggler and Bryan/Rollins, plus the promos were all well done. Also, based on this show, things are shaping up for a potentially good Fast Lane show. Reigns/Bryan, Kidd & Cesaro/Usos, Ambrose/Barrett and Pagie/Nikki all sound good to me. 7.5/10.