I have to say, i’m still not out of the woods in terms of busyness, but I do have time to write this RAW review, especially given that the last two days have seen the most traffic to this blog EVER. So thanks to everyone that has visited here, eventhough i’ve been on semi-hiatus.
The cold-opening with Undertaker’s promo was another nice one from Undi. His style is a little more relaxed under his ‘last outlaw’ gimmick, and it’s made him easier to listen to. Saying that, I don’t understand why he appeared. He spoke on Smackdown, and you’d have thought it would have been better to see Triple H. Seeing that ‘taker will, again, be talking on Smackdown, I don’t understand why he couldn’t announce the no-holds-barred stipulation there and save time for another match, perhaps featuring Trips.
The Abrupt cut to the backstage assault on Orton was nice, and a return to the brutality we’ve seen in the past from Nexus, and when Punk told them to drag Orton to the ring, I thought we’d get a return to the awesome iconography of their best days. Unfortunately, that moment was acted out during the commercial break, which I think was a mistake. As for Otunga’s match withe The Viper, it looked like Otunga had improved some what in-ring, but the match, and it’s finish, was unfortunately predictable. After taking a beat-down, Orton hit an RKO out of nowhere for the win. This has been Orton’s booking for a while now, and it’s predictable and not entertaining. The RKO is so awesome because it can be hit at any time, like Stone Cold’s Stunner, but if it’s used in the way it was this week it’s really unbelievable and completely empty of impact. And then, predictably, we saw the punt. Seeing a punt every week, on the dot, completely strips it of it’s meaning. I would rather have seen Orton take the Nexus members out in more imaginative, edgy ways that fit his persona. One of them could be punted, but i’d like to see the others attacked brutally away from the ring (backstage, at home, at a media appearance, for instance). Also, if Orton’s going to take out the rest of Nexus, spread it out throughout the Wrestlemania build-up, and on the weeks where Orton doesn’t take someone out, have Nexus be on top, doing something characteristically sick for CM Punk, to Orton. Something shocking, like putting his dad through a New Nexus style sacrifice, something that will make them seem really evil. That would make it more unpredictable, and therefore, more entertaining and shocking. As of now, it looks like it’ll be CM Punk on his own to take on Orton, though i’ve heard rumours that Mason Ryan will make it to the big dance, and at Wrestlemania, Nexus will be destroyed. This is arguably the least inspiring storyline going in to Wrestlemania, and something should be done to fix it. If I was tasked with saving the story, i’d rebuild Nexus in to the scary entity it used to be. Have Punk convince previous members, such as Tarver, Young, Sheffield (if he’s healthy) to re-join the group, and maybe some new members (Alex Riley? Awesome Kong?) and have them absolutely torment Orton while Punk keeps a big distance between him and the Viper, so that Orton, by the time Wrestlemania comes around, really wants to get at Punk. Also, play more on the past; talk more about Unforgiven, 2008, have Nexus play on some of the atrocities Orton has committed in the past, perhaps including past victims of the former heel Orton, and maybe have Nexus break in to his home and attack his family, like Orton did to HHH two years ago for instance. Have Nexus behaving in their old, sinister way, with Punk just talking all the way through. All this will make Punk over-confident, and he will agree to take on Orton one-on-one at Wrestlemania and get beaten, despite the eventual attempts of Nexus to interfere, which could be scuppered perhaps by the WWE lockerroom. Their match should be great anyway, but with an interesting, emotional story like that, it could be a show-stealer.
I was torn by the divas match. I really want to see more time, more effort (creatively), and more regard given to the divas division, but I thought the Michael Cole interruptions were really funny! It was unique and drew, rightly, tonnes of heat. It’s just a shame it had to be during a divas match, especially one that was actually taking shape quite nicely between Nikki Bella and Eve Torres.
The segment Cole was so keen to get to was his announcement of his special guest referee, and JBL’s entrance was a huge shock, even if it did turn out to be a red herring. Now I never had much time for the JBL gimmick, but I was very up for seeing him on RAW this week. Saying that, it was almost inevitable that Stone Cold would make his appearance here, with a huge Stunner to JBL before having a few un-PG beers and signing the contract to take the place of the special guest referee for the Cole-Lawler Wrestlemania match. This segment was awesome, from Cole’s obnoxious, smarmy heel characteristics, to the somewhat old-skool beer-bath Stone Cold gave Cole, humiliating him by pouring beers straight over his head while Cole whimpered like the worst kind of coward. The second Stunner after a beer-toast to JBL, was certainly reminiscent of the attitude era, and for those upset Cole didn’t get stunned – don’t worry, he’ll get his at Wrestlemania.
Daniel Bryan actually has some decent history with Sheamus, so a feud with him seems to make sense. Their match was regrettable short, but it was really a preview of next week’s title match in which is Sheamus doesn’t win, he will quit. That stipulation convinces me that Sheamus will indeed be ‘fired’ next week, Given that Dolph Ziggler is now on RAW, as we will see later, there is a spot for a heel on Smackdown (well, sort of, they need another big face really), so I think that’s where he’ll be heading, maybe to join Drew McIntyre.
CM Punk vs R-Truth was ok. The main thing I wanted to mention was how welcome a victory with the Anaconda Vice was. Could this point to the match at Wrestlemania being a submission match? Maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but I think it would be a good idea for variety. Ryan’s beat-down and shoulder-breaker to Truth was also cool.
As mentioned earlier, Dolph Zigger was, as I predicted, drafted to RAW, and his first match was against John Morrison. This match was ok, but they’re obviously holding a little back. This is a really mouth-watering feud, and a real picture of the future of the company. While I liked their match this week, my point really is that this points to a potentially great feud between the two!
Our main event segment was Cena’s ‘knock-out’ blow to The Rock. Well, it was far from that. Cena’s good at making fun of people (just ask Heath Slater), so it doesn’t need to be through rap. I’ve liked the return of ‘the Doctor of Thuganomics’, but only if he can pull it off, like he did the first time. Cena’s strongest stuff is about the Rock simply not being there, and he did talk about that a lot, and his amended t-shirt was a really cool move, but that was surrounded by an un-fluent, un-clever mess. An optimist might say that the poor quality of the rap might be a sign of a heel-turn, but unfortunately, given the face characteristics (such as the comedy props), I think it was just crap. It was now though that the Miz struck. Attacking Cena with his WWE title twice, Miz went on to deliver a great promo, which culminated in the awesome spot where he started his catchphrase, “because i’m The Miz …” before hitting his Skull-Crushing Finalé to Cena and then, in an unscrupulous affront to The Rock, performing The People’s Elbow to Cena and finishing his promo, “…and i’m AWEEEESOME!” Again, this storyline continues to soar. Though Cena’s promo was poor, the heat being built between him and Rock continues to build and make their eventual encounter seen almost mythical. And though Miz is definitely getting a rub from it all anyway, he is performing at Cena and Rock’s level, if not surpassing them the past couple of weeks. He is being made to seem a real, main event player, and certainly looks like he deserves to be there in every way.