2/18/13 RAW Review

The post-Elimination Chamber episode of RAW is in the books, and we are now beginning the final stretch of The Road to WrestleMania. WWE delivered us a good show, highlighting the aftermath of the Elimination Chamber PPV and laying the groundwork for what will play out in the weeks to come.

There were some hits, and some misses. Lets take a closer look shall we?


The open to last night's show delivered again, and we saw a very serious John Cena. His approach to the impending Title Match with The Rock was much more intense with no comedy to be found. I loved it! His encounter with Punk continued this trend, and I am very excited to see what happens in next week's match.

Now, I know that there is no way Punk wins next week, but this could very well be a buffer in case The Undertaker is not fit to compete on April 7th. The closer we get to that date without seeing the Dead Man, the less likely it will be that he appears. Could we see Cena and Punk pin one another to lead to a Triple Threat? It is one way the WWE could go, but one thing is for sure, Punk cannot afford to lose clean to Cena, so something has to give.

Cut to The Rock's celebration! I was skeptical about this segment as it was being hyped all night, and I did not know what purpose it would serve, but Rocky came through in a big way. So did the marching band, those percussionists could play! He was able to tie in the unveiling of the new WWE Title to his feud with John Cena, adding yet another layer to the build of their match at Met Life Stadium. I want so badly to be interested in this rematch, and the WWE took a big step last night in helping me do so. Punk attacking Cena from behind got him heat and kept him relevant for his match next week. The creative team needs to do everything possible to make us believe Punk actually has a shot at winning.

One of the most intriguing and surprising storylines that has burst onto the scene is the new and improved Jack Swagger, and his sidekick Zeb Coulter. Uncle Zeb is walking a fine line between getting heat and offending people, but it is something different and refreshing to see on WWE TV. The creative team threw all of us a curveball by granting The Real American a World Title shot at WM29, and its smart to begin the build right away. Zeb planted the seeds for a personal battle between Swags and Alberto Del Rio, which was followed by an impressive match between Swagger and Daniel Bryan. I was never a fan of Jack Swagger's character before, but have always respected his in ring work when given the time. This repackage could be just what he needs to get back to the Main Event Scene. It has been a great return thus far, and the WWE has done all the right things to put him in a position to succeed. Whether Swagger wins at WrestleMania or not, expect him to have a big impact in restoring the relevancy of the WHC if this booking continues.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the WWE for learning from the mistakes it made with Nexus and for doing a fantastic job with The Shield as of late. Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, and Seth Rollins personify the "pack mentality" approach, and everything they do in the ring fits so seamlessly with their characters both personally, and as a group. Their match with Y2J, Ryback, and Sheamus was the best of the night, and The Shield won clean again. All six men put on a heck of a performance, and I was sure the good guys would come out on top this time. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised!

The Shield have been a breath of fresh air to the WWE, and the booking for this group could not be any more spot on right now. Look for these three to play a big part in The Road To Wrestlemania, possibly squaring off with another "Team WWE" of sorts. I just wonder… Will a leader or new member ever be revealed, or will this just stay a three man faction?


Is it just me, or has Dolph Ziggler's momentum that started at Survivor Series come to a complete halt? We have just seen "The Show Off" lose to the current WHC twice in one week, and he was even left off of RAW completely a few weeks ago. Don't get me wrong, the teased cash in had me on the Edge of my seat last night and it was a well-delivered angle, but that's all it was… just another entertaining tease. No matter how talented he is, Ziggler will never get over as a legitimate champion if he does not start recording significant victories on a consistent basis. Would it hurt to have him beat Santino or Zack Ryder a couple of weeks in a row just to give the guy some momentum? WWE has handled the booking of Ziggler's run with the briefcase very poorly, and last nights RAW was another reminder of that.

As someone who has tickets to WM29, I would love to see his cash-in happen then, but his reign will fizzle if the WWE doesn't start putting him over before it happens.

The segment with Vickie, Heyman, Maddox and Vince did not work for me. Vickie is still a heel, trying to agitate another heel, and I don't know what to make of it. I was disappointed, because these four have the potential to make great television, but the end product was Paul Heyman vs. Vinnie Mac booked next week on RAW. Sure, this may lead to a confrontation between Lesnar and HHH to set up a match for WrestleMania, but this was not the way to go.

There are tons of ways to get Hunter and Brock in the same ring together so they can point at the WrestleMania sign and live happily ever after. Brock F-5'ed Vince and it led to surgery, isn't that reason enough? A "match" between McMahon and Heyman will not make for good television. Vince is usually booked for a RAW to drive ratings and generate business, especially in an angle like this. With CM Punk vs. John Cena for a shot at The Rock's Title already on the card for next week, it's confusing to add this in. I understand that with Heyman and McMahon in the same ring, there is definitely potential for magic to occur, and hopefully the WWE can prove me wrong here. Until then, I disagree with the direction on this one.

Oh, by the way… the Intercontinental Champion and the Tag Team Champions still do not have feuds leading into WrestleMania. Daniel Bryan, Kane, and Antonio Cesaro lost their matches last night, while Wade Barrett was involved with an awkward segment promoting his movie, which got cut off by Shaemus for virtually no reason. The trend of Mid-Card Titles being lost in the shuffle persists, and is not showing any signs of life. WWE is digging a deep hole here. They need to change this ASAP, its getting frustrating.

Quick Hits
- Please don't tell me the WWE is building Khali vs. Mark Henry for WM29. At least neither guy pointed at the sign.

- Great to see Miz finally get a quality win as a babyface. He has been more aggressive and the Figure Four suits him nicely. Would love to see Miz vs. Cesaro on April 7th for the US Title.

- All I learned from the "Dead Man Down" movie trailer segment is that Wade Barrett isn't in the movie that much. Very similar to WWE TV lately.

- Tensai and Brodus has become one of my favorite parts of RAW. Always a bonus when we get to see Naomi wrestle. She's got skills!

- Will Team Hell No ever wrestle a tag match again?

- 2013 has not started well for Kofi Kingston. He is a great performer but his character is very one-dimensional. Don't really know what's in store for him moving forward.

- The "Assistant TO the General Manager" gimmick will ALWAYS get over.

- I guess Big Show was too embarrassed to show up on RAW. Thank goodness.

- With The Shield and 3MB being the only factions in the WWE right now, I think the company has a huge opportunity in front of them with "We The People". NXT's The Wyatt Family would fit perfectly, and Bray Wyatt is ready.

- The new Title design is really cool, but wasn't Punk the one slated to unveil it? Also, when Rock leaves again, does the Brahma Bull logo stay?

Overall, I thought last night's episode of RAW would have been perfectly suitable for the middle of September. It was well rounded where storyline development and exciting matches occurred. But this was February 18th, it followed the final PPV before WestleMania 29, and the most exciting segment was a belt unveiling. While RAW was certainly entertaining, it lacked a WOW factor that I was expecting to see.

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!

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