Pruett's Pause: WWE Raw - Paul Bearer tribute featuring Kane vs. C.M. Punk and The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar responds to Triple H, The Shield continue attacking Big Show, Sheamus, and Randy Orton
By Will Pruett
- Opening the show with a major tribute segment for Paul Bearer was the right mood. Most of us predicted it would involve the urn and Undertaker. Some speculated it would also involve and interruption from C.M. Punk. I didn't mind the interruption or Punk's promo. It didn't disrespect Bearer and it wasn't tasteless.
- I tend to think Undertaker would have put a stop to anything Bearer would have found truly disrespectful.
- C.M. Punk's involvement also gave WWE the opportunity to involve Kane in the Bearer tribute. This was something I could definitely get behind.
- The addition of the Paul Bearer clips shown throughout the night made this show feel like an actual tribute. I may not have been as fond of the interruption from Punk and the use of Bearer's death in this story had the rest of the show not seemed so respectful.
- I'm glad WWE didn't actually give us the first singles match for a Shield member. I would like to see that moment built up and I'd like to see the Shield member in it actually win. The attack on Big Show was well done.
- Big Show looked to be holding on for dear life during the Powerbomb from Reigns. Who could blame him, given the not-so-great experiences he has had with Powerbombs.
- Vickie Guerrero is an odd heel authority figure sometimes. She seems to care quite a bit about respecting the dead.
- I enjoyed the attempt to highlight A.J. Lee going into the Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler match. She seemed like a talented and relevant performer here instead of just another distraction at ringside.
- Bryan vs. Ziggler was a pretty great match with a nice dose of athleticism. It reminded me of their Bragging Rights 2010 encounter, even though it didn't quite meet the standard set by that match.
- It was nice to see Dolph Ziggler get a big win. It was even better to see Big E. Langston and A.J. Lee look dominant alongside Ziggler. This is how to get this group over.
- The closer we get to July, the more I believe the story for Dolph Ziggler's Money in the Bank run will be time almost running out on him. This is something no Money in the Bank holder has faced and it could make for a fun device in May and June.
- My only problem with Triple H feuds is the way every single moment gets its own video package. I'm not sure I need to see a video package about a video package promoting a promo that will become a video package.
- Johnny Curtis/Fandango just can't stop being weird. I kind of hope he is continuously obsessed with Naomi.
- This was another show bogged down with too many movie previews. Luckily, I watch Raw via DVR and was able to fast forward through all of them.
- I laughed pretty hard at Rhodes Scholars impersonating The New Age Outlaws. This segment built their feud pretty well and made me smile.
- Say what you will about it being a dated nostalgia act, but The New Age Outlaws are pretty entertaining in small doses. I still want to see them at WrestleMania against Rhodes Scholars, especially after their non-match on this show.
- Brock Lesnar still looks like a frightening beast. The expression on the face of Cody Rhodes as Lesnar entered was priceless. The way Lesnar took out the Outlaws was perfect and actually unexpected.
- Paul Heyman cuts a mean promo. The way he says Brock's name itself is enough to make me want to see some Lesnar-based violence. It's a great heel tactic to want to name the stipulation after the contract is signed. This feud is being built extremely well.
- In a short match, Kofi Kingston actually looked pretty impressive against Mark Henry. It was nice to see Kingston get a chance to shine, even though he would lose the match very quickly.
- Was Jerry Lawler saying "Psyched" instead of "Psych" when promoting the show?
- The finisher off between Ryback and Mark Henry was fairly entertaining. I'm hoping we don't actually see this match on Smackdown, because it will make for a nice spectacle at WrestleMania.
- I have no problem with Alberto Del Rio getting wins going into WrestleMania, but I don't know why he has to beat a secondary champion again when there are plenty of other roster members.
- I will never forget the campaign leading into Kane's debut and the original Hell in a Cell match where it happened. Paul Bearer's performances were amazing in this story. He launched the career of Kane perfectly and it still lasts almost 16 years later.
- I would be far more into John Cena's redemption in 2013 had he actually let on to how bad his 2012 was during the year. His character needed to have a real crisis of confidence and lose matches he should have won. He shouldn't have looked so dominant and he shouldn't have been so happy. The revisionist story WWE is telling is pretty good, but it is distracting.
- I don't think Rhodes Scholars actually should have defeated Sheamus and Randy Orton, but I do believe they should win a match sometime in the near future. I'd actually condone throwing the WWE Tag Team Championships on them prior to WrestleMania.
- Randy Orton and Sheamus were attacked by The Shield on the WWE App. Is anyone watching this? I live on the West Coast, so I'm actually unable to watch the app while I watch Raw. The attempts at making Raw interactive actually hurt the show for us in the west.
- I don't want to say much about the Highlight Reel other than it was less than enjoyable.
- Brad Maddox is trying to be an interesting and different character and I'm enjoying it. I would take care to put him in good segments and not segments that died long before he entered.
- The Miz vs. Wade Barrett vs. Chris Jericho could be a fun way to reignite the Intercontinental Championship scene.
- What ever happened to Bo Dallas? Did his bad teeth get him pulled from TV?
- Alberto Del Rio does a very bad Jack Swagger. Ricardo Rodriguez wasn't funny as Zeb Colter. These segments shouldn't exist on a one hour show or a three hour show.
- I actually enjoyed the segment between Sin Cara and Zeb Colter. I also enjoyed the Cara vs. Swagger match. It worked really well. The two of them had some nice chemistry. I would approve of this being a program when Swagger falls back down the card.
- Kane was in a really serious storyline on this show involving the death of Paul Bearer. I probably wouldn't have him creepily call Halle Berry. The segment was funny, but it didn't belong on this show.
- C.M. Punk and Kane had a great main event match. Kane really pulled out everything he could and Punk was excellent as always. This match itself was a fitting tribute to Paul Bearer.
- The end of the show with Undertaker and Kane paying tribute to Bearer until Punk interrupted worked for me. It was another tasteful way to involve Bearer's death in the story. This didn't feel exploitive. This was probably something Bearer would have loved.
- One has to wonder what WWE had planned to do with Undertaker and Punk not this show until Paul Bearer died.
- The lack of John Cena on this show was surprising. I didn't mind not seeing him on TV, simply because it will make his next appearance mean more. The Rock and Cena's story deserved a week off to reflect on how good last week's segment with them was.
This was a pretty good episode of Raw. WWE paid a fitting tribute to one of the best managers in their history. Undertaker and Kane were both able to pay respect to the man who helped shape their careers. C.M. Punk was a great villain, without venturing into tastelessness. These segments all worked.
The show was bogged down by filler in the middle and it really dragged. I liked many of the stories told, but the whole picture came up a little bit lacking.
So, what did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to email me at email@example.com or to follow me and interact on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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