Pruett's Pause: WWE Raw - C.M. Punk vs. Chris Jericho, Brad Maddox calls out The Shield, John Cena, Ryback, and Sheamus get their DDP on, Bruno enters the hall, and more!
By Will Pruett
- The "Tonight on Raw" opening for this show was another great one. WWE and TNA are using this technique to maximum effectiveness almost every time they try. It makes the show feel more like episodic TV, which is exactly what WWE wants it to be, right?
- C.M. Punk wasn't manic, crazy Punk on this show, but he was still upset. His anger and sadness after losing the WWE Championship are going a long way to highlight how lightly John Cena has taken losing the title the ten times he has. This attitude about championships could go a long way towards making them seem like the most important thing in wrestling again.
- WWE has some amazing makeup artists to make Paul Giamatti look like Paul Heyman.
- Championships are props endowed with a sense of meaning. Punk is getting his Uta Hagen on in a big way.
- Booker T and Vickie Guerrero could transition into being the good and bad authority figures in a slightly fun way. It would be like reliving the days of Steve Austin and Eric Bischoff as co-General Managers.
- Why does WWE believe their fans don't know how to download an app? If they haven't figured it out by now, will a video tutorial really help them? For a company going after a younger audience, these vignettes really make them seem outdated.
- I've seen an awful lot of Antonio Cesaro vs. Ryback lately. I like them both, but I'm not digging this combination anymore. Ryback, in theory should be beating Cesaro, but it makes Cesaro look weak to take constant losses. Maybe the match shouldn't even be happening if it means constantly jobbing the mid-card champion out.
- Technically, shouldn't Ryback and Cesaro be in different divisions since they're targeting different championships.
- While it didn't actually happen, I liked the hype for John Cena calling out The Shield. It was a promise at the beginning of the night showing the story would be continued. If fans want to see The Shield, they were told a meaningful portion of their story would happen later.
- The unintentional humor of the WWE App failing made me smile.
- Jack Swagger is now more aggressive, but he still looks like Jack Swagger. I didn't need to see a new haircut or anything, but he looks frightening similar to the Swagger that lost constantly.
- Cody Rhodes lost to John Cena last week and then lost to the Mexican John Cena (Alberto Del Rio) a week later. For a guy getting a renewed singles push and a sweet mustachioed t-shirt, Cody Rhodes seems to be losing an awful lot.
- Some wrestlers can easily come back from a loss, but there are key moments in a career where wins are necessary. What if Ryback had lost clean on the show right after he saved Vince McMahon?
- Alberto Del Rio is pandering to the common man quite a bit. I like his babyface style in promos and I love the idea of him sticking up for his friend. What I'm not too sure about is him sticking up for the working man. He could have left it alone and been fine. Del Rio is still a good babyface.
- Daniel Bryan and Kane seem to be on the road to a breakup more than ever. It is probably time, but I still worry about where each man ends up on the card after their initial feud is over. Post-WrestleMania is probably the best time for this.
- Call me crazy, but if you told me I wouldn't absolutely love a Rey Mysterio vs. Daniel Bryan match a year ago, I would have never believed you. They seemed to work hard, but there was a certain element of excitement missing. Bryan's extra weight and Mysterio's advanced age may have slowed them down more than I expected. It just wasn't the match I expected from them.
- Mark Henry's return was extremely well done. Henry looked like the monster he was before losing the World Heavyweight Championship. As Del Rip finishes his program with Big Show, I can't help but think Henry is his next monstrous challenge. If he is, I know I'll look forward to their matches together.
- Sheamus vs. Kane was just about what I expected. I like both men, but not so much when they're paired together.
- This was the best MizTV segment yet. Miz actually played his part relatively well. Paul Heyman was brilliant. Vickie Guerrero was pretty great as well. All three of the, did great work in this promo segment.
- The Miz looked really good as a babyface at the end of this segment by bringing it to Brock Lesnar, even though he knew he was going to get beat up. Lesnar is an unstoppable monster, but Miz showed no fear. Sometimes taking a beating is actually better for one's career.
- Paul Heyman yelling to Vickie to leave the ring was amazing. Heyman's true fear of what Lesnar is doing makes Brock seem like even more of a bad ass than he already did. This is how to tell a consistent and entertaining story.
- Please take what I said about Ryback and Cody Rhodes and apply it to Wade Barrett and Randy Orton. You can then go ahead and add two years of a rivalry to it and try to imagine my boredom.
- C.M. Punk vs. Chris Jericho was a gem of a Raw match. It was fun to see them switch roles from their extended rivalry a year ago and still produce something as compelling and entertaining as they did.
- It's so rare to see a heel get a legitimate victory over a top babyface without a ton of chicanery. C.M. Punk did so with Chris Jericho and it felt right. WWE should do this more often with top heels. It makes them look fairly legitimate.
- The video about Bruno Sammartino was brilliantly done. I couldn't be more excited for WWE to finally induct their greatest legend into the Hall of Fame. This will be a special night in New York.
- Punk claiming that Rock has the belt, but Punk has the title was great. I'm sure Vince McMahon was smiling as well.
- John Cena's promos about doing the impossible are killing me. I don't expect him to admit he can do anything he wants, but the false humility is striking a really odd tone. No one buys that he can't.
- Big Show's treatment of the runner with the contract had me laughing. Show did a nice job carrying the segment and feeding into the big surprise with Del Rio.
- Alberto Del Rio's hotel beatdown of Show was fine. It was a little silly, but it showed his anger and fire well. The followup to this on Smackdown should be entertaining.
- Brad Maddox's promo was surprisingly great. I didn't expect much from Maddox, a heel placed in a weird babyface situation, but I got more than I bargained for. I don't know if I would have Maddox in this role for long, but I would have him fill it for the next few weeks, at least.
- The Shield's eventual entrance and attack on Maddox set them up perfectly for what should have been a hot moment.
- Why didn't the people cheer for John Cena, Sheamus, and Ryback entering from the crowd? Are they not buying the John Cena false humility either? Maybe they just didn't dig the segment.
- The end of this show should have felt like the moment in 2010 when the WWE formed an army to take on The Nexus. Instead, it felt like just another show closing brawl. I was disappointed by this moment.
The end of this show definitely telegraphed a six man tag coming down the pike at Elimination Chamber. Now, we just have to find out if WWE is willing to go full-on War Games and put it in the structure. I tend to believe they should, but I can see the reasons for not doing so.
The show was good and it had some great moments. It didn't feel seven hours long like last week's Raw and it really didn't suffer from The Rock's absence. This is one of those moments when I believe absence may make the heart grow fonder.
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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