Pruett's Pause: WWE Raw - Final WrestleMania hype, The Rock and John Cena deliver their closing arguments, C.M. Punk and The Undertaker play in the sand, Shawn Michaels shows up, and more!
By Will Pruett
- The opening hype video for this show said seven of the biggest and most influential WWE superstars of all time were in the building (in reference to The Rock, John Cena, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Brock Lesnar, The Undertaker, and C.M. Punk). This lineup of stars is actually pretty amazing when you think about it.
- John Cena brought a ton of passion to his opening promo. He also brought some unwelcome silliness as it began. Once the silliness was out of the way, Cena delivered a pretty good go-home promo. His vow that The Rock would feel the loss for a long time was fantastic.
- Cena's promo was more of a heel promo. He discussed rubbing the loss in and Rock having to watch him hold the new WWE Championship. It added to the speculation that Cena will turn on Sunday. I don't know if I can commit to the prediction of a heel turn happening, but I'm willing to consider it.
- The important thing about Cena's promo was his commitment to winning. Last year, both Rock an Cena promised they would win. It was the most effective thing about the build to their first match. Now, we are getting the same thing with even higher stakes. The build to this match has worked really well.
- Who beat 3MB faster: Big Show, Sheamus, and Randy Orton or Ryback?
- The final promo from The Shield could have just used one man talking. Passing the mic seemed gimmicky. Aside from that, it was effective. I'm interested in the saga of The Shield as WrestleMania passes us and they move further into the spotlight.
- Is WrestleMania the right time to defeat The Shield? I don't believe Show, Orton, and Sheamus are the right team, but being undefeated is a burden. Beating The Shield soon will make sure the first loss is not a damning one.
- The crowd for this show was kind of rude with all of the "boring" chants for segments that weren't boring.
- Raw in Washington D.C. seemed like the best setup for a Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger promo, but now it seems the characters have just gotten stale. They haven't been around for long, but with only one talking point for ten weeks, they're hurting.
- How is it that Raw has gotten longer than it was a year ago, but we are seeing fewer entrances on TV?
- Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler was as good as I expected it to be. They have always worked well together and delivered a fun match.
- The angle following the Ziggler vs. Bryan match featuring Kane and Big E Langston was also awesome. I'm very happy to see how exciting the tag team match at WrestleMania is shaping up to be. This match might be the best use of Kane, Bryan, and Ziggler possible at WrestleMania. The match should be pretty good.
- It's odd to promote an eviscerating of someone. Normally, I expect those to happen organically.
- Shawn Michaels delivered another great post-retirement promo. I enjoyed the way Triple H and Michaels played up the career-ending stipulation. I also enjoyed how Michaels spelled out the difference between Undertaker and Brock Lesnar. This was some great old-school build.
- Adding Shawn Michaels to WrestleMania definitely enhances the show for me. I am an unabashed Shawn Michaels fan, so I might be biased. I don't expect him to do much in the match, but him cornering Triple H will be fun to watch.
- Paul Heyman's promo on behalf of Brock Lesnar was also fantastic. This match was built with the brawl between Triple H and Lesnar a month ago. The rest of the time has been around to maintain intensity and establish stakes. They've done that perfectly. Now, WrestleMania has to deliver for them better than SummerSlam did.
- I'm happy to see Wade Barrett winning matches, but does it have to be someone as low on the card as Zack Ryder in order for him to go over?
- The Miz is promoting the WrestleMania pre-show as a major deal. I might watch it, so there's that.
- Santino wasn't great in his backstage segment, but Brad Maddox and Vickie Guerrero lifted him up on wings like an eagle's and allowed him to soar. Okay, maybe that's a little much, but Maddox and Guerrero were good here.
- We all knew Mark Henry was going to beat Santino, but somehow it was ridiculously entertaining. I attribute this to how much fun watching Mark Henry beat people up is.
- Did Mark Henry suddenly cut an intense "Sexual Chocolate" promo on Ryback? That was uncomfortable.
- C.M. Punk is cutting good promos as a part of this Undertaker feud, but it's not enough. The story is weak and it carries through.
- Zeb Colter's setup of Alberto Del Rio was easy to see coming, but really well done. This feud has stalled out big time, but this week of build was good. Del Rio getting beat with crutches looked vicious.
- The Rock's description of his presidential aspirations was straight out of the movie "Idiocracy" and it seems just as crazy.
- Perhaps when Rock is going into WrestleMania he shouldn't spend half of his time discussing becoming President. The other half of his promo was good. He outlined why he will beat John Cena and brought the intensity. This is what was needed. Sadly, the first part containing silliness didn't work as well as the second.
- The Rock raising the eyebrow before he delivers the "is cookin'" portion of his signature line was awesome. Sometimes it's the little things.
- I'm convinced Chris Jericho and Antonio Cesaro could do better than they did during this match. They seemed off during a few moves, but they also had a nice flow. This is a feud I would love to see in the future.
- Fandango was really good in his beat down of Jericho. It doesn't make a ton of sense that no one noticed his entrance setup being lowered and rolled out, but the actual angle worked. Somehow, I am actually excited to see the debut of Fandango at WrestleMania. I'm amazed.
- What is the point of Tout again?
- The Bella Twins vs. Cameron and Naomi was a pretty fun divas match. I'm more interested in the mixed tag at WrestleMania (as silly as I'm sure it will be) than I would have been in almost any sort of Divas Championship match.
- The Undertaker and C.M. Punk segment wasn't offensive to me. It wasn't dishonorable. It was a weak way to close out WrestleMani hype. The issue wasn't how it would offend or not offend the late Paul Bearer. The issue is the lack of quality. It was an okay beat down of Undertaker, but it didn't make me rush over the the pay-per-view channel and order the show right now.
- Paul Heyman looks odd with a mustache.
- Perhaps the chemistry between Punk and Undertaker just isn't there. Thinking back to their short, odd 2009 run together, they didn't light the world on fire, even with a submission match and a Hell in a Cell match. Now, their feud is not clicking.
- What as planned for Punk and Undertaker prior to Paul Bearer's death? Would it have been as odd as this program has been?
This was an odd final edition of WWE Raw before the biggest show of the year. This can be attributed to weak creative or a general lack of direction. I would attribute it to most of the matches already having pre-established feuds and only needing a little bit to get to the point of a WrestleMania match. Rock vs. Cena took one segment the week after Cena beat Punk. Lesnar vs. Triple H took one brawl. Punk vs. Undertaker took an unfortunate path.
WrestleMania seems big. It seems exciting. We just didn't get the final big angle going into the show many of us wanted. I'll still be ordering the show and happily paying my money for it. I was sold in week one. Maybe the big go-home wasn't as necessary as it was in past years.
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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