I don’t actually have that much to say about The Rock’s opening promo. It was excellent, and a throwback in style to some of Rock’s funny interviews while saying everything the ‘Cena Sucks’ portion of the WWE Universe are thinking (that Cena has no talent, and that his demographic is kids), but it was still held back by the lack of physical presence. It was still a top-notch promo, but when he appears live, it’s just that much better.
This was followed by another excellent promo from The Miz, belittling Rock and Cena in a way he hasn’t quite earned and so garnering a lot of heat. This was followed by him being booked in a match against someone he hadn’t faced before, that person being the Great Khali. At first, I wished it would have been HHH, and that is a match I would love to see, but I have since realised that it would be counter-productive to his own build up for the Undertaker to have a match in which he didn’t win with at least relative ease, and this is at odds with the rise of The Miz. Saying that, Miz didn’t look overly strong in the match, only escaping a pinfall it seemed because Alex Riley was there. I’m ambivalent about this. There have been reports of Miz ‘re-hiring’ A-Ri, and if that’s true, i’ll be quite upset at the ignoring of the stip. If they sell it, however, as the announcers seemed to, that Riley was simply helping his mentor because he wanted to, then I suppose it’s fair enough.
Sheamus vs Daniel Bryan was a very good match which seemed to last longer than it did. Indeed, the match was packed with action with a story of the Irish powerhouse trying to quess the quickness and technical expertise of Bryan. There was some very fluid back and forth here, with Bryan surviving an onslaught and Sheamus escaping the LaBelle Lock. Finally, the match came with a Brogue Kick to Bryan as he dived from the top rope. This finish made a point of making Bryan look tough and hard to beat, so I have no problem with that. It’s also good for Sheamus as the ‘curse’ he was said to have (if backstage reports are to be believed, this curse was more like management being down on him) was broken. These two will most probably head to Wrestlemania, though i’d like to see one or two extra superstars added, just for variety to the card, and so when Sheamus retains (which I think he must), Daniel Bryan will look less weak, which will be important for him going out of WrestleMania. Add DiBiade and Bourne and you have a potentially great match.
Next up was Michael Cole’s segment with Jerry Lawler’s family. That reminds me, i’m loving the pod Cole is in from now on. It just ramps up his dislikability and pre-madonna status excellently, while being funny. Cole’s guest was none other than Grand Master Sexay, Brian Christopher, famous screw-up son of Jerry Lawler. Hearing the Too Cool music again while the camera cut from shots of Christopher and Cole dancing was one of the finniest things i’ve seen for a long time, but the interview would get much darker. I think there was probably a lot more truth to what Christopher and Lawler said to each other than might be thought. I know they’re close, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Christopher did feel neglected as he said, and if Lawler was embarrassed by his son (who wouldn’t be!). This all made for great drama, as Christopher physically harassed his father before leaving. More baiting from Cole before we hear the familiar Sooners anthem of GOOD OL’ JR! For the record, Jim was looking well, which was great to see. Also for the record, I think he needs to be called back for Wrestlemania. His voice will lend a gravitas that, for all their talent, Matthews and esp. Booker have yet to pick up. Anyway, a great speech from J.R to Cole about how ridiculous the feud has gotten (as it has, wonderfully) before Swagger appears out of nowhere and takes out Jerry Lawler before setting his sights on the Boomer Sooner himself. This was, as it should be, uncomfortable viewing, and though Jerry recovered to fight back, he was soon quelled, allowing for the excellent closing shot of Cole with the ankle Lock on JR. Great build.
This was followed by a disappointing match. Orton vs Mason Ryan, and lo and behold!, RKO out of nowhere (though it was more clever than last week, admittedly) and a punt to Ryan. It really is sickening what has happened to the Nexus. It’s just lazy too. The talent of Punk and the background of the group and it has come to this. I don’t think it can be saved now, I mean does Punk alone = Nexus. Maybe he could recruit, but it seems unlikely now, and certainly less acceptable after Ryan was punted. At least now we should have some more creative stuff between these two in the 3 weeks before Mania …
I think Snooki was pretty good on RAW. She played out a face character pretty well and got physically involved. I think her ability to beat up Layla was a bit unfortunate for the former Womens and Divas Champion, but she is a heel so it’s to be expected I suppose. It’s undoubtedly a good move for WrestleMania and WWE, and add to that Trish, LayCool and the match-up of Morrison and Ziggler, and there is an anticipated match in the making. It’s very interesting to me to see how the company’s top divas square up to Trish, and Trish letting McCool get the victory over her (by proxy) was a humble, helpful touch. I also liked their celebrations, posing for photos over her body. Great way to build heat.
Finally we have the main event of John Cena vs Alberto Del Rio. Right there is a future Mania main event if wanted. This match was an opening salvo, and I feel we may see them square off again sooner rather than later. It was a relatively short match, but with some nice stuff. I was really impressed with Cena. At one point his dropkick seemed gimmicky, but he’s really incorporated it. Seeing that Cena was getting the upper hand, Brodus Clay weighed in, stopping Cena from hitting the AA to his mentor. This caused a beat-down that was interrupted by the Rock’s music and a loud reaction from the fans, who were instead met with Miz in a bald mask (looking more like The Rock than you would ever imagine possible). Miz went on to Rock Bottom Cena before Del Rio and Clay went about beating Cena some more. At this point, Miz started talking, pointing out, correctly, that he had ‘owned’ Cena the last few weeks and that he would continue to do so. He then went on beating Cena, with the ring-post, the mic, a suplex to the ramp and finally a Skull Crushing Finalé to Cena on the spinning WWE logo on the stage. Every week, Miz makes his assault on Cena more harrowing, and steals the show doing it. My only problem here was that Miz coming out to Rock’s music, though brilliant and gaining a lot of heat, may have something of a boy crying wolf effect. Rocky is scheduled to appear once more live on RAW before Wrestlemania, so when his music hits, will the impact be lessened by this? Maybe not. I hope not. That aside though, another good finish to another good RAW before Wrestlemania.