2/25/13 RAW Review

The February 25th edition of RAW is in the books, and The Road to WrestleMania is in full swing. We saw the return of HHH and an excellent Main Event match between CM Punk and John Cena, which capped off a very entertaining episode.

There were some hits, and some misses. Let's take a closer look…

I knew the "fight" between Heyman and Vince would be short, and lead to an encounter between HHH and Brock Lesnar. What I didn't know is how good it would come off on TV. I'll admit, I was wrong on this one. Instead of simply pointing to the WM29 sign, these two waged an all out brawl that saw Lesnar get busted wide open. The war was great, and was an unexpected way to go this early in the renewed rivalry. Both Superstars did look slow and rusty, but made up for it with the brutality of their battle. This was a huge success, and I hope Lesnar's schedule allows for WWE to keep the momentum going through the next 6 weeks.

The Shield were strong again last night, reiterating how well they have performed after two big victories in two nights last week. Dean Ambrose impressed again, while Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins showed improvement on the mic. They will definitely be featured in a high profile match at WrestleMania, but I'd really like to see these guys break off into singles feuds after April 7th. Still staying together as a faction, of course.

CM Punk has always been gifted on the mic, but it seems like his skills have only gotten better since Paul Heyman returned. Punk shined in his pre-match promo early on in the show, while stating that he is a "God", and "an icon that walks among superstars". Perfect precursor to a match with Undertaker, eh?

Cut to the Main Event! John Cena went out there and proved to the world that he deserves to be Headlining WM29. Cena and Punk put on a clinic, full of endless false finishes and momentum swings that had the sold out crowd in Dallas on it's feet. That was the best wrestling match of Cena's career, and I couldn't be happier for the guy. Cena lives and breathes WWE while others before him have left when a better opportunity came about. He was never the best worker, but CM Punk brought him to a new level on RAW, and Cena now has a ton of momentum moving forward.

Too Close To Call
The rivalry between Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger is only one week old, and its already more interesting than anything ADR and Big Show delivered to us. On Miz TV, Zeb conveyed a very controversial message that was attention grabbing, but he ran on entirely too long. I think partnering him with Swags is a smart move, but ADR and Miz kept cutting in making for awkward silences, which felt unscripted and uncomfortable. This has great potential in theory, if booked correctly. I'm just not sure the Creative Team can get this feud over if ADR and Zeb can't shoot effectively.

Let me know your thoughts! What do you make of their rivalry leading into WrestleMania 29?

How many heels does the WWE have on its roster that could make Ryback look good? Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, Titus O'Neil, Antonio Cesaro…you get the point. Instead, Dolph Ziggler takes another loss. Add to the fact that Ziggler has not only lost almost every match he has had since TLC, but he has done so WITH help from Big E and distractions from AJ. What does that say about Ziggler's strength and credibility? Absolutely nothing. I'm not sure the WWE could be dropping the ball any harder here. I am starting to think The Show Off won't even cash in successfully at this point. I hope I'm wrong, because he deserves it.

Speaking of poor booking, I am particularly annoyed with the way Wade Barrett has been positioned since his return. When he got injured, he was red hot and potentially on his way to a WHC run. After running a series of vignettes, and allowing Wade to squash jobbers for 3 weeks, WWE made it seem like he would be picking up right where he left off. Unfortunately, since then, Wade has continually lost on TV, and the strap he has across his waist is now merely a prop he wears to the ring. (The overcoat and poppy was way cooler, no?) Barrett is far too gifted, both in the ring and on the mic, to be as irrelevant as he is right now. IC Title or not, WWE is not showcasing him correctly, which was exhibited again last night.

It is worth noting that while RAW was extremely entertaining, it felt like something was missing when both Chris Jericho and The Rock were absent. I understand that they both have other priorities, but while the show DID feature Brock Lesnar and one heck of a Main Event, it exploited the lack of true stars the company will have once WrestleMania is over. This all goes back to WWE not developing young talent to be positioned in a Main Event spot in the future. The Creative Team need to start pushing more young talent, as it has worked so well recently… i.e. The Shield, Antonio Cesaro, Damien Sandow.

Quick Hits
-The opening vignettes have been great lately. Huge upgrade from the soap-opera recaps we were getting a few months ago.
-I wish John Cena was intense and serious all of the time. When he speaks like he did last night, I really believe in the guy. Ps. That power-bomb was #SSSIIICCCKKK
-So happy to see Donald Trump in the WWE Hall of Fame. His history with WWE dates back to WrestleMania IV, and his on-air segments were gold.
-No matter how many times Ziggler nails the high-impact DDT, it always seems to confuse Michael Cole as to who hurt who.
-In case you missed it last week, WWE made sure we knew Mark Henry can slam Khali. I almost fell asleep… again.
-WWE really pushed its movies last night. #StraightToDVD
-While Darren Young always impresses me in the ring, Titus O'Neil has that "it factor" everyone talks about. When P2P breaks up, look for him to do big things.

Overall, last night's episode of RAW was entertaining throughout. Every high spot in the show was performed to perfection, and all three hours were entertaining. Additionally, the quantity and quality of matches were spot-on. Cena vs. Punk stole the show, but Miz vs. Swagger and Orton vs. Cesaro were the dark horses that most certainly made an impact. Hopefully WWE can continue to deliver solid 3-Hour shows like last night's leading in to WM29.

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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