Pruett's Pause: WWE Raw - The Rock meets The Shield, C.M. Punk gets a skybox, final Royal Rumble hype, Dolph Ziggler gets to be number one, Team Hell No graduate, and more!
By Will Pruett
- I actually missed the "Tonight on Raw" video package this week. It always does a nice job of setting up the top storylines on the show. It would have been a useful device going into this major edition of Raw.
- Paul Heyman and Vickie Guerrero were great in the opening segment. It's amazing how much heat the Guerrero character can garner. She is one of the best stories in wrestling and is still a fun character (when used in moderation) on WWE TV.
- Paul Heyman called Vickie a widow, which was a little odd to hear. Normally, she isn't referred to as such, even though many fans know she is one.
- The Rock was rather upset about not being allowed in the building. I enjoyed seeing him yell at the camera and the indie wrestlers hired to play cops for the night. Those wrestlers may have experienced the highlight of their careers as they tried to to laugh at The Rock's lines.
- Randy Orton and Antonio Cesaro apparently thought they were wrestling a Beat the Clock Iron Man match. They took it nice and slow to kick off their match together. There was nothing technically wrong with the match, but it was sleepy.
- The Shield's promos, which seem to be filmed on a found camcorder from the 1990's that is always sitting around backstage, are fun and different. I liked the recap of their various attacks. The package was almost a reintroduction. I'm assuming it was meant to remind us all of their relevance.
- I have no issues with Big Show knocking out Zack Ryder.
- I have even fewer issues with Brad Maddox hopping the rail and joining the commentary team. He is one of the most intriguing acts in WWE today. Tonight seemed to mark a major step forward in his character, as he was hired by Paul Heyman. I'm excited to see what WWE does with Maddox.
- Part of me has missed Ryback squashing jobbers. I'm glad we got back to basics on this show.
- Ryback still seems a little Ultimate Warrior-esque whenever he talks. Luckily, the Warrior was pretty great in his time and Ryback is pretty great on his own.
- Why would anyone in charge of a police force give Vickie Guerrero (or anyone else) total control over them? This is similar to Hulk Hogan being in charge of the Orlando police (which was absurd at the time). A little more logic in this situation would have worked wonders.
- Does the Raw after the Royal Rumble really need the roulette gimmick?
- I've enjoyed the dichotomy WWE has created with C.M. Punk fighting for himself and The Rock fighting for the people. Punk really brought that home in his intense heel promo on The Rock. I enjoyed seeing Punk talk uninterrupted. I also enjoyed the fact that he didn't try to be too cool. He went for old school heat instead of meta-fan cheers.
- The Miz was given the Figure Four Leglock last week, but it sadly didn't come with an instruction manual. I'm pretty sure most wrestling fans have actually applied the Figure Four to a younger sibling at some point. The Miz would be wise to study a few tapes.
- I enjoyed the longer Beat the Clock matches on this show. Normally those matches end up scaled down to three or four minutes, but this show had an elevated level of competition. The Beat the Clock matches were not mismatches, which was new and different.
- Maybe I'm crazy, but the graduation segment with Kane and Daniel Bryan (presided over by the great Dr. Shelby) was brilliant. It was perfectly silly, but Kane and Bryan pulled the humor off well. Neither guy lost anything by demanding that others hug. Both men still seemed like tough guys, even though they rocked the hugging.
- If I were in the arena in San Jose, I would have hugged the hell out of the person sitting next to me.
- Kaitlyn was back to not being that great in this short squash match. Last week, she had the match of her career with Eve. I was hoping it was a sign of change from Kaitlyn's character.
- Bringing in the story of Vince McMahon being desperate for someone to take the WWE Championship from C.M. Punk at this moment is a little odd. Yes, McMahon has been a rival of Punk's, but he hasn't seemed enraged at Punk for having the title. This was a little out of left field.
- I have a ticket to the Royal Rumble on Sunday night. Do I get to make an entrance like The Rock did? If so, get ready for something spectacular.
- I'm really into the intensity of The Rock and Punk's feud. Rock has made sure to, on a weekly basis, put over how great, tough, and resilient Punk is. This is so much better than tearing down the opponent, like Rock and Cena did going into WrestleMania.
- The Shield attacking Rock and their subsequent ban from interfering in the main event at the Rumble accomplished two important tasks. First, it showed more collusion between Shield and Punk. Second, it allowed WWE to tell fans that on Sunday The Shield cannot get involved in that match. Rock Sol's the beating like a champion. It was a great segment.
- My only disappointment was the lack of real face to face confrontation from Punk and Rock. I really wanted to see them together in the ring one last time before the Rumble. Their first exchange was so good, I was hoping for more. Alas, this was a great final week of hype for the match, even without a face to face.
- Sheamus and Wade Barrett seemed to be stretching for time a little bit during their ten minute match. They have great chemistry and have been in the ring together for years, so that surprised me.
- I really enjoyed Dolph Ziggler's Beat the Clock victory and the subsequent swerve that landed him at number one in the Rumble. It was a nice piece of storytelling, especially with Vickie Guerrero still feeling scorned by Ziggler. I'm looking forward to Ziggler getting the chance to put on a nice, long show in the Rumble match.
- Alberto Del Rio is going to count in Spanish in his Last Man Standing match against Big Show. Yep. This still feels like pandering. Del Rio is doing a nice job in this role and is doing all that is asked of him. I only wish WWE wasn't scripting this as such a heavy handed effort to make a Latino star.
- Bob Backlund deserves to be in the WWE Hall of Fame. I'm looking forward to what will be a slightly crazy induction speech on the WrestleMania DVD.
- John Cena's final promo going into the Rumble match was severely disappointing. Cena was in his frustrating silly mood and more concerned with mocking fans in the front row than taking a match seriously. I don't need Cena to be straightforward all the time, but when he goes off on a silly tangent, it's just frustrating.
- I tend to be more forgiving of John Cena than most online fans, but this was too much, even for me.
- Right as John Cena finished his promo, I just assumed we were going to get the major Rumble brawl, and we did. It is one of my least favorite tropes in modern wrestling, but there seems to be no way around it. WWE has to have that big brawl to show us the intensity of the Rumble match (which will never feature that big of a brawl).
- Why didn't Team Rhodes Scholars or Ryback get a little promo time while everyone was walking down to the ring interrupting each other with theme music included?
- I'm really looking forward to the Royal Rumble match, but that is almost despite the build to it. I know it will be a fun match to watch no matter what.
This show attempted to give a final sell to the Rumble, but it didn't leave me feeling as excited as I was two weeks ago. WWE tried really hard to sell the Rumble match and give us a little more Punk vs. Rock build, but it wasn't great. I'm still ridiculously excited for this show, but I didn't leave this show more excited.
So, what did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to follow me and interact on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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