Raw continued the general formula of their three hour shows. There were some excellent segments, but in order to get to them, you had to see a lot of bad ones.
Rest in peace, Paul Bearer.
The show was booked around the real life passing of Bill Moody, better known as the manager for the Undertaker and storyline father of Kane. I was quite worried that it was going to come off in poor taste because the wounds are still deep for everyone. However, I think they did a good job with it.The Undertaker came out to start the show and give respect to Bearer. But Punk interrupted him and gave his condolences… for ruining the streak. It was a little weird seeing this happen while guys were in character, but I have to imagine that the Undertaker was completely fine with what was going on. It paid respects to a classic WWE character of everyone’s youth while also forwarding on an important angle. This wasn’t Rey Mysterio getting beaten up every week because Eddie Guerrero died.
They also took Kane away from his goofy tag with Daniel Bryan and put him right into the angle with Taker and Punk. Kane was dismayed at Punk’s disrespect and chased him around the building, and secured a match with in the main event. Kane won the match in the main event. He brought out the urn. The Undertaker’s bell tolled, which froze Punk, allowing Kane to choke slam him for the win. And just when you thought the Undertaker and Kane were going to be able to pay their respects, Punk hit Kane with the urn and escaped before the Undertaker could make the save.
The ending was a bit cheesy, but I imagine doing the creative for something like this and still keeping the heat on Punk was difficult. I was fine with it.
Brock Lesnar destroys the New Age Outlaws.
I was excited to see the New Age Outlaws come out for another match. My hope was that they’d get a chance to win the tag straps for one last time at WrestleMania and that facing the Rhodes Scholars was the start of their climb. Well, WWE’s idea was different than mine.
The Scholars did a rather scholarly introduction that was based on the New Age Outlaws’ famous introduction. It was pretty hilarious.
The match started and then Brock Lesnar came out and killed the Outlaws. The idea was that he destroyed DX. Paul Heyman cut a promo and said that Brock accepts HHH’s challenge, but only if they can make the stipulation and HHH won’t know what it is until he signs the contract. I just hope it’s not a submission match.
No Cena, no Rock? No problem.
John Cena was held off Raw since The Rock wasn’t there, but what was in their place was a pretty brilliant video package. My only issue with this entire storyline is that if John Cena was so distraught from losing to the Rock, why did he seemingly not care that he lost matches to Big Johnny, Dolph Ziggler, or Punk. He came out and smiled like he always did. And it’s not like they didn’t know where they were going with this angle. When he beat Brock Lesnar (and wasn’t that a mistake), it looked like he was going to take some time off, but then he came back bright eyed and busy tailed on the next Raw. That was a missed opportunity in hindsight because it would’ve made this angle make so much sense.
And the rest…
- The Shield destroyed the Big Show, seemingly setting up a six-man at WrestleMania. They got Show up in the triple powerbomb.
- Dolph Ziggler got a win! It was at the expense of Daniel Bryan. The last few minutes of the match was tremendous with all the transitions. Go out of your way to watch the match.
- Fandango is near Gobbledy Gooker status.
- Mark Henry destroyed Kofi Kingston
- Cody looked to be getting sweet on Kaitlyn, but then Sandow interrupted and brought some girls with him. The Bellas are back. Cody’s opening line to Kaitlyn was, “I mustache you a question.” And then Kaitlyn snorted. Why must they try to make their divas so unattractive? Piggy James and Natalya’s farting gimmick say hello.
- Ryback beat down Heath Slater and then Mark Henry tried to one up him by hitting the World’s Strongest Slam on Drew McIntyre. But Ryback one upped him by giving Drew the Shellshocked. I have a perverse interest in seeing them wrestle at Mania.
- Alberto Del Rio beat Antonio Cesaro (sigh).
- Randy Orton and Sheamus beat Team Rhodes Scholars who had to wrestle again since their early match was only 30 seconds long. And during the commercial break, The Shield beat them down too.
- Chris Jericho invited The Miz and Wade Barrett onto the Highlight Reel since they were in current WWE movies. I’m not sure what the point of the segment was unless it was to make all three look like goofs. Brad Maddox came out to make a match between Jericho and the Miz and the commentary just buried him. Is this leading up to a Michael Cole vs. Brad Maddox feud? I sure hope not.
- Ricardo and Alberto spoofed a “We The People” video which was a great idea, but didn’t really work for laughs as much as I thought it would.
- Jack Swagger beat Sin Cara and then Alberto came out and arm barred Swagger.
- In one of the better segments on the show, Halle Berry and Kane had a phone conversation that ended with Halle setting off Kane’s flames from the ring posts. Kane was happy. This was the best promotion for “The Call” that I’ve seen yet.
All in all, standard Raw fare of late. They need to pick things up as there is only one month left until WrestleMania 29.