By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Michael Cole Interviewed Seth Rollins
I've been saying for months, especially in recent weeks, that Rollins has become WWE's brightest star, and if that wasn't evident in the Triple Threat match at the Royal Rumble (you'd have to be blind to not see it), it definitely was here. He seemed so composed and didn't look a loser at all coming out of his loss in the title match. I found it really interesting that a potential one-on-one match between Lesnar and Rollins was teased. I don't think that's in the cards right now, but it'd be one hell of a match if their encounter on Sunday was any indication. The "I'm not leaving until Lesnar forces me to leave" bit was great and yet another sign that he's destined to be world champion before long.
Michael Cole Interviewed WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar
Lesnar absolutely thrives in these sit-down interviews. That shouldn't come as much of a surprise because it's been the case for years, even dating back to his UFC days, but he shines in this environment. He didn't say anything new per se, as most of it was him essentially putting himself over, but it was excellently executed. And let's not understate Paul Heyman's performance here which was stellar as usual. The way he made Cole feel inferior with his intense questioning was fantastic and made him come across so dislikable. I also loved his tease for encountering Reigns later on in the night, giving viewers something to look forward to.
Byron Saxton Interviewed Roman Reigns
Of all the interviews on this show, this was the weakest, but only because all the others were so great. That said, this was Reigns' best mic work to date since it didn't seem like he was as scripted as usual. He wasn't exceptional, but he was good, and I appreciated how they acknowledged the negative reaction he received on Sunday night instead of ignoring it. I don't know if I agree with his perspective that you have to be a wrestler to have an opinion on wrestling or their work, and it didn't help that it was something that John Cena would say. At this stage of the game, WWE needs to make Reigns as different from Cena as possible. If fans see him as Cena 2.0, they'll resent him even more.
Renne Young Interviewed Daniel Bryan
I was worried with how they'd follow up Bryan's poorly booked elimination from the Royal Rumble match. Last year, he had an excuse because he wasn't even included and can make a case for being held down by The Authority. This year, in storyline, he had his chance and his failed. However, I was really impressed with how he explained it away. He mentioned here how he let the fans down, but also made mention of wanting to win the belt back. No, I don't think he'll be in the title match again at WrestleMania, but it's something to keep in mind for after The Show of Shows. His little shots at Reigns by saying he didn't have The Rock's help were intriguing and planted seeds for a future feud between them.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns Came Face-to-Face
For me, it was insanely cool to see Lesnar and Reigns in the same place. Part of me actually wished they would have waited to do something like this until a later date and hype it up in advance, but it made for a spectacular segment on this show. Remember, since returning to the company in 2012, Reigns (with the exception of CM Punk) is the only fresh face Lesnar will have faced, so it felt fresh. Reigns' involvement here was kept short and sweet, which is where he excels. The same can be said about Lesnar and this entire segment was focused on Paul Heyman. Him assigning himself as the interview was excellent and the work from all three men in this segment made me want to see the match at WrestleMania. They didn't make me change my mind about Reigns not being ready in one night, but it made me realize that it's not the worst possible thing they could do. Furthermore, this didn't air in front of a live crowd, so it remains to be seen how Reigns will fare in front of audiences in the weeks to come and if it forces WWE to change 'Mania plans once again.
I maintain that it was a mistake to air the two biggest matches from the Royal Rumble. Yes, they were short on time, but I've had several people ask me what I expected them to air instead. Let's keep in mind that this is the same company that acquires enough footage to have their own Network. Would it have killed them to air some old WrestleMania footage as the road to WrestleMania kicks off? They also had to know with the expectation of heavy snow that there was a chance the show would be cancelled and had a back-up plan in place. I just think it's a slap in the face to those who had to pay to watch the pay-per-view the night prior, but for those you didn't catch the event, lucky you. Rumble replays aside, everything else was excellent. Why can't we get this kind of stuff more often? It's a much more effective use of time than two minute squash matches with Adam Rose and The New Day. Everyone, even Reigns, did very well in the pre-taped environment and it saved this show from being a complete disaster. Kudos to WWE for pulling together a much better show than expected on such short notice.