Howdy! It’s your favourite wrestling fan here. You guessed it! I’m back with another Monday Night Raw review. This seems to be becoming a bit of a routine for me. I’m going to try and keep this one below one hundred words, so forgive me for focusing on just three particular angles this week. There is so much going on heading towards Wrestlemania and all of the storylines deserve focus, but I don’t want to bore you with a dissertation. I’ll keep it to three things that I found particularly memorable from this weeks episode.
I’ll start with CM Punk and The Undertaker. It hasn’t taken long for these two to completely eclipse everything else that’s going on. That’s a personal opinion. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve been struggling to remember Brock Lesnar, Triple H, The Rock and John Cena this week. All I was looking forward to was where they were going to go with this feud. One particular event which shocked the wrestling world this week has added even more creative spice to the whole affair, and that’s the unfortunate passing of Paul Bearer.
Anyone with a brain knew that Punk’s character was surely going to do something dastardly this week. He did, and I loved it. I’m very sorry about William Moody’s death, but from what I’ve heard in interviews, he was the type of old school guy who would have wanted ‘the show to go on’ so to speak. Either way, it would have made absolutely no sense for Punk to not mention it. That would have been counter-productive. I think the WWE did the best they could with the situation. They honoured Paul Bearer’s career commendably with numerous video packages, and the salute to the urn by The Undertaker and Kane. They did everything expected. They just didn’t make the most evil heel in the business a softie for one night.
Punk’s interruption of Undertaker’s mark of respect to Moody has took things to a new level. It’s not just about the streak anymore. It’s not just ego on the line. Punk has offended The Phenom very deeply. This has added emotion and complexity to what was already going to be the highlight of the year for me. I can’t criticize the way this has been booked one bit. It’s unfortunate that the business has lost one of the most memorable characters, and by all accounts genuinely nicest guys in history, but to ignore it and not make it worth something would be foolish. It may be close to the nerve for some people, but I thought it was inevitable and perfectly executed. Hitting Kane over the back of the head with Paul Bearer’s urn after he had been defeated, then fleeing the ring just before Taker could get his hands on him: Classic Punk!
On the other hand, as I mentioned before, some of the biggest angles on the card have been put on the back burner a bit in my mind. One of those is the Twice in a Lifetime extravaganza of ‘WWE Champion’ The Rock and ‘Superman’ John Cena. I didn’t quite notice until several hours after watching RAW that neither of them were on it. I don’t know what that says about this Wrestlemania main event, but it doesn’t seem right.
My deflation of interest in their storyline has a lot to do with the championship. The Rock hasn’t and won’t be competing until Wrestlemania, yet he is the champion. If you’re lucky, he will come out and cut a promo for you every two or three weeks. It doesn’t cut it, for me. I actually forgot about the belt design change because I sometimes forget about the title itself. Your champion should be on the show every week, competing more often than not. But that’s a pipe dream. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but when you rarely see your champ on the screen, let alone in action, it can’t be good for building up the title.
All I can do is speak for myself. This match probably comes around third or fourth on my priority list for Wrestlemania. It can excite me at times, because of the grandeur and the hype of it. Nonetheless, when you strip it to it’s bare bones, it’s predictable, anticlimactic and disappoints on a weekly basis. I can’t knock the solid promo work, but for a match of such magnitude you need more. Fair play to John Cena, he deserves a night off with his schedule. And I don’t really blame The Rock. I just don’t know why they choose to put the championship on a performer who I don’t think is even at part time status now.
Another thing I noticed on this weeks show, and something that becomes more increasingly obvious with each episode, is the abundance of star power available on the roster. I know they like to beef things up in Wrestlemania season, but it is beyond impressive. One segment which really hit this home for me was the Highlight reel, and the match between Chris Jericho and The Miz which proceeded it. It seems to me that these two guys are going to become involved in a triple threat match with Wade Barrett at Wrestlemania for the Intercontinental Championship. Maybe not, but that’s how I see things panning out.
Regardless, the match isn’t the point. To have three huge stars like this fighting it out in the mid card really suggests a large talent pool. Then I noticed Sin Cara was brought out to be squash-meat for Jack Swagger. You can go lower and deeper. If the card has less than ten matches on it this year, they are wasting talent. A huge multi man match of some kind should be on the agenda. The number of form world or mid card champions that aren’t currently involved in one of the already predetermined blockbuster main events is staggering. I just hope they find a way to logically wrap it all together.
I have to say this week’s show didn’t blow my mind, but it was solid nonetheless. I think they could do with maximizing what they have more efficiently, and losing fodder with Team Rhodes Scholars. Make sure all six of the guys from the three core main events are on the show every week until Wrestlemania. Make sure the World Heavyweight Championship is highlighted and built up each week. Put some of the mid card performers I mentioned earlier in more creative matches and segments. There really isn’t that long until the show itself now. I still don’t quite know how I’m gonna watch it, because I’ll be on tour and in Liverpool on the 7th. I will find a way. I just hope WWE finds a way to use all of it’s talent effectively and produce the best show possible!
What did you think about this weeks RAW? If you have any opinions or questions about WWE or wrestling in general, please do leave a comment!