By Jake Barnett
WrestleMania Week Day 3: What was the aftermath of Raw and did it help WrestleMania?
Monday and Tuesday have come and gone and everyone has had a couple of days to digest what we saw on Raw Monday night. I watched the show a second time last night to really try and get a grasp on what the show might have changed regarding the WrestleMania show, and it really was a mixed bag. Some feuds saw major final pushes that sold the show, while others failed to break out of their shell and deliver on what could have been. I’ll go through which matches and feuds I’m more excited about after Monday, and which ones failed to raise my expectations.
Raw Success Stories:
1. The Rock and John Cena successfully completed their saving throw and managed to knock their promo out of the park. I was a little nervous as it appeared that both guys were still slightly uncomfortable in the ring with each other, but after they calmed down they laid down the gauntlets and were both intense and entertaining.
I thought John Cena made a very good case as to what this match means to his career post-WrestleMania, and The Rock also made a case for what this match means to his legacy. They managed to push the boundaries of PG a bit, and that’s a good thing in this case, as I don’t think this situation would have had the same impact had they kept it completely clean. It was what this feud needed, and the only nit to pick is that it should have happened a month ago.
2. The Hell in a Cell match was only touched upon in a video package, but I’ll be damned if it wasn’t a good one. I really enjoyed the way they used “The Memory Remains” and I think they managed to weave it into the video footage extremely well. They also focused a lot on the dangers of the cell and how it contributed to ending people’s careers.
I think it succeeded in that regard, and that’s really all that was left to do in this feud. They didn’t need another live interview segment, and I think the hype for this match is complete and about as good as it gets. I suppose I shouldn’t rave about a video package too much, as WWE Productions could cut up Dom DeLuise (RIP) taking a dump and make it look like an action movie sequence.
3. I think Chris Jericho and C.M. Punk have done a great job of making their match and feud feel special among the titanic matches and feuds that dominate the top of this card. Chris Jericho has been far and away the most antagonistic heel character in any feud heading into WrestleMania, and I think he’s done a great job of establishing why people should want to see him get his ass kicked. At the same time, C.M. Punk has been cast in a sympathetic light without losing one bit of his edge.
Monday’s Raw continued that trend nicely with more personal swipes from Jericho, and C.M. Punk finally boiling over and taking out his frustrations on Christian. I’m kind of bummed Christian was the guy who had to take the beating, but it was effective and the crowd is pumped to see Punk beat the tar out of Jericho on Sunday. It will be interesting to see how this feud progresses beyond WrestleMania.
Where Raw failed to deliver:
1. The Divas match at the PPV is a mess. Maria Menounos has a rib injury as a result of preparing for Dancing with the Stars, and they really haven’t done anything on WWE TV to help the match itself gain any traction. The crossover between WWE and Extra isn’t large to begin with, and they’ve spent more time on WWE TV establishing Eve’s new character than they have on the match.
The match between Kelly and Eve on Monday was an attempt to further the drama, but it made Kelly look very strong when she’s heading into the match with the handicap of teaming with a non wrestler. If she can beat Eve while she has Beth at ringside and no help of her own, what exactly is supposed to be suspenseful about Sunday? The Divas aren’t generally well promoted on the WrestleMania card to begin with, and this match doesn’t seem to be shattering that mold.
2. The tag match that opened the show on Raw featured some pretty good action, and it was nice to get a break from the normal 25 minute talking segment in favor of a longer match. What they did right here was put some heat on the heels by having them go over, but I think in the end they failed to generate any more excitement for these matches than what already existed. That’s a shame, because as I stated earlier this week, both matches were languishing without a proper story.
Nothing was accomplished on this show for either of them by throwing this match together and pretending that all the work was done for Sunday, specifically for the world title match. Sheamus has not gotten the character development I was hoping for heading into Sunday, and it takes some of the shine off of what will likely be a phenomenal match. If the plan is for him to win the belt, I think it will be difficult for him to carry the Smackdown brand with promos about his crazy uncles. There has to be more to Sheamus than that, and I hope they can get there. Kane and Orton were really tied down with a bad story from the word go, so I’m not surprised they weren’t able to accomplish miracles there.
3. The Big Show had another meaningless match on Monday to set up Cody Rhodes ripping him again for being a WrestleMania failure. I think that part of this feud had been well established, but we never got to hear from the Big Show as to why the title he’s fighting over means anything to him. He never once addressed the title, and Cody only mentioned it in the most transient of ways, so we must conclude that the title is not at all the focus of this conflict. I know the counter argument is that the belts are just props used to tell a story, but even if you subscribe to that, you have to recognize that rendering the unimportant makes is a detriment to the product as a whole. The failure to make the IC Title feel important is a major setback for this feud.
Do you have questions, comments, or concerns about this article? Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @barnettjake.
3/28 Barnett's WrestleMania Week Day 3: What was the aftermath of Raw and did it help WrestleMania?
Posted in: Barnett's Blog
Mar 28, 2012 - 04:20 PM
Mar 28, 2012 - 04:20 PM
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