Happy Royal Rumble week! It is such a fun pay per view. It symbolizes the official start of the road to WrestleMania. It has such a unique match as its crown jewel that always seems to get a few new wrinkles added in. This year it has the boon of two top tier epic main events. Sorry 40-man Royal Rumble, but this year’s pay per view might be the biggest of all time. Those two matches sure as hell dominated the go home edition of Monday Night RAW.
Overall RAW was a little up and a little down. Some stuff was simply amazing. Some was good to push angles. Some was just blah. I don’t know if this show sold any more buys for the pay per view, but it was an interesting watch.
The start had me cringing. Everyone has commented on it, but why the WWE decided to basically do a RAW recap from last week is a head scratcher. Chad Dukes, from www.chaddukeswrestlingshow.com, hit it on the head when he said the WWE has two of the best talkers of all time, just let them talk. The whole “The Rock is banned from the building” angle was stupid. I get they are trying to show Vickie is power hungry and they are going for the cheap pop when Rock finally appears, but how stupid does the WWE believe their fans are. Then again maybe CM Punk is right.
I enjoy the Beat The Clock challenge. It’s a fun little gimmick that helps highlight talent and it puts a spotlight on the Royal Rumble match for multiple segments. Both of those are good things. Now there are at least 7 talents that fans know to watch going into the Royal Rumble: Antonia Cesaro, Randy Orton, The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Wade Barrett, Sheamus, and John Cena. All of those men have to be the favorites to win the match and headline WrestleMania. I have a feeling that Superman In Jorts is the lead dog.
The matches weren’t anything ground breaking. Miz is trying to become the next Flair but hasn’t quite got it down yet. Dolph is the man who pissed off his ex-gf, so now he has to go bell to bell. Antonio and Wade are both mid-card champs with main event potential. I would say Wade is a little more protected at this point because he wasn’t truly beaten. Reefer Randy is still dangerous no matter what. Sheamus is just as good as Dolph, but just a hair off on that night. I’ll get to John Cena and his promo later.
The filler for the show was hit or miss.
I don’t know if I really care about Big Show and Albert Del Rio. They both had squash matches. Their feud just seems like a plane still stuck on the run way. Maybe this Sunday they will take off with a great match to open the show. I also feel that Del Rio isn’t going to be champ for very long. I think that the Elimination Chamber will be his water loo. That doesn’t make me want to invest much time into this jiffy pop feud.
Ryback destroyed three men. Those three men now have no chance of ever being taken serious. Can you believe one of them used to be called Vince McMahon’s chosen one? Ouch. The WWE is trying to rebuild Ryback going towards WrestleMania. I just don’t see who he is going to feud with. I am guessing it will be Antonio Cesaro so that they can put the strap on Ryback. He would be a good US champ. Plus Cesaro can really protect him in the ring and make him look better than he does. Just watch Antonio’s match with Khali from Main Event a few weeks back if you don’t believe me.
After last week’s surprisingly good Divas match, the WWE returned to form. Kaitlyn is Vince’s new poster girl. She’ll probably be champ for a few months until his eye catches somebody else. I have a feeling he puts the title on the girl he thinks about at night when he’s in bed. Explains why Kharma never got a run with the strap. There is nothing much to talk about here.
The Dr. Shelby, Kane, and Daniel Bryan segment started off fun, but then took a huge nose dive. I’ve been going to wrestling events since the mid-90s, and I would never want to hug anyone in those audiences. Bryan is gold and Kane has some great comedy chops. Again the Shelby character is a waste. I just don’t get the appeal but he does well with the younger fans. Then again they think using a computer to change your voice is making music. These might be the fans CM Punk is talking about.
The John Cena promo to close the show wasn’t good. I know he sells tons of merch. He has a loyal fan base of young viewers and parents who like what he stands for. I just think he has gotten old. He is like Adam Sandler. I liked his older stuff but now he is almost unwatchable. The worst part is every once and awhile he is really entertaining, so you get false hope. Then he does a promo like last night and you can’t stop from shaking your head. I have a fear we are about to have him shoved down our throats beginning next week.
After Superman In Jorts put us all to sleep with his mic skills, the locker room unloads with a silly one liner gauntlet. Each one comes out, talks for 20 seconds, and gets in the ring to wait. Gee I wonder what is going to happen? Oh yeah the traditional fake rumble brawl that always happens to close the final RAW before the Royal Rumble. Maybe next year the WWE will mix it up. I’m not betting on it.
The best part of the show, and frankly the past month, was The Rock and CM Punk. Both men are red hot right now. It’s not Rock’s fault he got stuck with a silly “banned from the arena” storyline for the night. Creative needs to, I don’t know, get creative. This retread was weak and they need to do better. Even worse is that all he needed was to buy a ticket to the event. That overrides the ban and he even gets entrance music. Why didn’t the people’s champion come through the people? Guess the champ doesn’t like rubbing elbows with his people. This plot has more holes than John Dillinger.
Rock cut a decent promo but the MLK twist was a stretch. I get he is trying to honor Dr. King, but I am pretty sure “I have a dream” wasn’t about Rock’s want to be WWE champion as his three movies are coming out. There are just some things you leave alone. I think that is one of them. I would say in the three weeks of this feud that CM Punk has owned The Rock on the mic. One comes off like an entertainer just playing his hits like Jimmy Buffett. The other comes off as if this is reality.
Think about it. Jimmy Buffett sells out world-wide. He does his usual hits. His fans, “The Parrot Heads”, get wasted and sing along with him. That sounds a lot like The Rock. He does his catch phrases from a decade ago. His “people” chant along with him. No new ground broken, but everyone goes home happy. I mean twinkie tits isn’t really something that the Rock’s writers spent longer than five minutes on.
CM Punk on the other hand sounds like a wrestler. He doesn’t sound like a guy playing a character. He sounds like the same guy who threatened to kick my ass backstage at a TNA Asylum show in 2004 because I unbooked his girlfriend at the time, Traci Brooks, from a show in Northern Michigan to save the promotion money. He sounds real and that stands out in today’s WWE.
His promos have been amazing the last three weeks. He knows all eyes are on him, and win or lose; he is going to leave his mark. I would have to believe the WWE has to be considering keeping the belt on Punk at this point. He is hitting his stride as a hall of fame heel. The stipulation added by Vince McMahon concerning The Shield has me believing they might weasel their way around taking the strap off him without having him get beat.
Speaking of The Shield. How much does the WWE believe in them? WOW. They got to manhandle The Rock. I know it is three on one, but ask 3MB if that really matters. They beat the living snot out of the great one and even left him bleeding. That is huge. All three men are potential main event talents. It looks like their storyline is about to evolve at the Royal Rumble. I for one am excited about it.
There will be a Smackdown this Friday, but right now it looks like the WWE is heading into the Rumble with these four matches:
The 30-Man Royal Rumble Match
The Rock vs. CM Punk (c) for the WWE Title
The Big Show vs. Albert Del Rio (c) in a Last Man Standing Match for the World Title
The Rhodes Scholars vs. Team Hell No (c) for the WWE Tag Titles.
I also wouldn’t be shocked to see a Divas match tossed in to add a fifth match. It will probably get announced on Smackdown. I have a feeling it will be a lumberjills match to get all the Divas on TV. Also there might be a pre-show battle royal or elimination match with the low-card talent to earn a last minute spot in the rumble.
I’m going to do a Royal Rumble preview and prediction later this week. Next week is a Raw Roulette show. It should be interesting to see the fallout from the Rumble mixed with all the gimmick matches for that show format. With such a short build time before the Elimination Chamber the WWE shouldn’t be wasting much time to get things established.
Just like Zack Ryder’s push, this Monday Night RAW review is done (notice I didn’t say over).