2/11/13 Raw Review
The Elimination Chamber's go-home episode of RAW is in the books. WWE did a great job throughout the show to promote the upcoming PPV, something that has been inconsistent among go-home episodes in the past year.
There were some hits, and some misses. Lets take a closer look, shall we?
Paul Heyman opened the show with a classic Paul E. promo. He is simply one of the best. I thought halfway through that he was really quitting, and this was his swan song. Punk coming out to galvanize him and convince Paul to stay provided another interesting layer to the Punk/Heyman relationship, and it was a great way to highlight the importance of his match with The Rock at the Elimination Chamber PPV. I am actually more excited for this rematch than I was for their original bout at the Royal Rumble. The build has been executed perfectly, and this one seems a bit more personal. Much like the open, Punk delivered in the closing segment as well, and he goes into Elimination Chamber with the upper hand, not that it ever helps…
Raw has had some really good opening segments lately, and this was certainly one of the best so far this year.
Chris Jericho vs. Daniel Bryan was one heck of a match. It was refreshing after we had to sit through Mark Henry bury Khali. These two put on a clinic, leading to Y2J earning a place in the Elimination Chamber. Jericho deserves a spot in this epic match, but I was under the impression that Y2J would square off against Dolph Ziggler at the upcoming PPV. Maybe there is a different plan…
Hear me out on this … Jericho has a ton of momentum right now, and his fan support has been tremendous since he returned. He not only needs to be in a WrestleMania 29 Match, Y2J needs to be in a Championship Match with someone who can take him to his limits. Enter, Dolph Ziggler. Could the plan be for Jericho to win the Chamber Match on the same night The Show Off cashes in, leading to a WHC match at WM29? Just a thought, but I think it could be a phenomenal match which would bring relevancy back to this title, and is a definite money-maker.
On to The Shield… As I mentioned in last week's column, I have been waiting to hear these guys speak and state their purpose. Last night, we got some explanations, and a closer look at the mic skills possessed by each member of the group. Dean Ambrose excelled, which was expected. His character is so intriguing, almost like The Joker played by Heath Ledger. He is unlike any other superstar on the roster, and his personality shined through perfectly on TV. Overall, I think Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins did a sufficient job backing up Ambrose, but their words just didn't carry as much impact as Dean's did. I've always seen Rollins as a better fit as a babyface, and not a heel.
It was smart to go after Cena and his influence on the business over the last decade, but they did not explain themselves enough. It almost seemed like they were getting to the point where they were here to save professional wrestling from fakes like John Cena, but it never got that far. I would most certainly approve of that angle, but I'm just not sure that's where they will take it. Nonetheless, the match between The Shield and the team of Cena, Ryback, and Shaemus should be one of the best this Sunday, and I am looking forward to it.
Listen, I do not mean to go to the well too many times on this, but the Big Show is just not good television anymore. After a month of making us endure a terrible program between him and Alberto Del Rio, the Creative Team decides that on a go-home episode, they would hype the WHC match by having Show knock out A-Ry, Yoshi Tatsu, and Matt Striker? On top of that, he wastes 90 seconds of TV time just standing in the middle of the ring and then walking out. Del Rio attempted to pump up the match a bit after he beat Damien Sandow, but it is just too far gone at this point.
I could not be less interested in the WHC right now, and I really hope something big happens in the next month or two to change the landscape of this title scene. (see above)
One thing I am not quite grasping is the face turn of The Miz. On the surface, it seems like a great idea, but the WWE has not exactly given us a reason to get behind him, and his on-and-off rivalry with Antonio Cesaro usually leaves Miz looking less and less like the main eventer we saw a few years ago. Last night was no different, as The US Champ tossed Miz around like a rag doll, much like Brock Lesnar did one week ago. Unfortunately, "The Most Must See Superstar" is creeping further and further into the mid-card. If Miz can take the US Title from Cesaro, it would be a win-win situation. The Miz can feud with and help a few mid-card-heels (Damien Sandow, Cody Rhodes, Jack Swagger) get more exposure, while catapulting Cesaro to the Intercontinental Title and beyond. Until then, it seems like The Miz's future is in limbo, and he will continue to wrestle sporadically and host MizTV. Not exactly the best route for someone who does so well on camera and in various media outlets for WWE.
Another booking issue I have with the WWE creative team at the moment is how The Shield has looked in the weeks leading up to their second official match with the company. I had hoped that a lesson was learned when The Nexus was pushed into the main event scene far too early, and I am hoping we are not seeing history repeat itself. The WWE has three extremely talented, young Superstars that are destined for great things in their career. Yet for the last two weeks, we have seen them look inferior to the super baby face team they will square off against this Sunday.
The Shield need a win here desperately, no matter how it happens. Clean or not, if these three end up taking a loss this Sunday, the momentum the WWE has built up for them since Survivor Series will evaporate. Classic booking shows that because they have been over-matched by Cena, Ryback, and Shaemus recently, they will come out on top at Elimination Chamber. The WWE needs to realize what they have here, and allow The Shield to get a key victory to keep them rolling into WrestleMania.
By the way, did The Rock really tell a story about a crack head in Nashville? Yes, and the punch line (after what felt like an hour to deliver) only made sense to the people in the arena. I did not have a problem with what followed between The Great One and Punk, but this seemed pointless to me. Don't get me wrong, I always enjoy seeing the Rock to his shtick, but this was a time to get serious, sell a PPV, and generate business. Not a time to be funny. Story-time with The Rock just did not work here.
Honestly folks, anything else would just be nitpicking. I thought this was a great show overall, and it sold Elimination Chamber successfully.
- I didn't like Mark Henry too much a year ago, but for some reason I am happy he's back. Much more believable this time around.
- The crowd was hot in Nashville last night. Always makes for a fun show to watch.
- WWE Guide to getting heels over: Let them do their finisher on Khali.
- Y2J making fun of Booker was hilarious. So glad he is back.
- Ryback, Shaemus, and Cena almost got the simultaneous finshers bit off without a hitch… Almost.
- Antonio Cesaro does a great job on commentary every time he gets the opportunity. He always finds ways to advance a storyline and build his character.
- Brodus and Tensai add a really cool dynamic to the Tag Division. I respect Tensai for running with this gimmick, it's a hit.
- When the lights went out, I thought it was the Undertaker. #Disappointed
- I know Damien Sandow lost quickly to ADR, but his promo was brilliant. Topical, witty, and absolutely hilarious. He gets better every week.
- Glad to see Ziggler back on TV this week. Had a solid match with Kane, but lost (of course).
That's all for me ladies and gentleman! Thanks so much for reading. Please let me know what you think about last night's RAW!
Tweet me your questions and comments at @MikeSouzaJT.
Have a great week, and enjoy Elimination Chamber!
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