The March 18th episode of RAW is in the books, and WWE delivered an episode that was sub-par compared to what we have been used to in the past month.
There were some hits, and some misses. Let's take a closer look…
Many people will have mixed opinions about how the show opened, but in my eyes it was a success. It was not the most outrageous, eye-opening beginning to RAW that we have been getting recently, but it was extremely funny and gave us something different. Cena conveyed another believable promo, and the Prime Time Players got a chance to entertain. When fans think of the PTPs, they think of Titus. Last night's opening match allowed D-Young to get some TV time, and Cena to go over quickly in preparation for Wrestlemania. Main Eventer's used to squash mid-carders all the time prior to big PPV matches, didn't they?
Last year, The Undertaker's first promo regarding Mania was incredibly underwhelming. I was afraid we would see a repeat, but last night The Dead Man kept it short and sweet while making an impact. I am sure that the WWE could have given Punk and Taker different angles to work while they built their match for WM29, but I am not sure there is anything that could have made this program more compelling than the passing of the late, great Paul Bearer. I mean no disrespect whatsoever when I say this, but between Punk taking the urn, and Undertaker fighting for his lost manager, this has turned into the most interesting feud leading into Mania.
While most of the matches on RAW were predictable and boring, we were treated to 3 bouts that certainly brought the show to life. The Main Event for The IC Title was the match of the night, although I would have liked to see the competitors engaged all at once, instead of taking turns facing one another 1 vs. 1. Other matches that stood out were Ziggler vs. Kofi and ADR vs. Rhodes. Both were well worked, technical matches that woke up the crowd and showed off the skills of each competitor.
Something that stood out to me in the aforementioned Main Event was that Wade Barrett, the Intercontinental Champion, did not even get a televised entrance to a match where the title was on the line. Furthermore, even though he won the match, Barrett hardly got any offense in, and looked the weakest of the 3 competitors. WWE has done absolutely nothing positive with Barrett since he has won the title, and I am wondering if there was ever a plan for him to build on the title success, rather than flounder in the Mid-Card. The Intercontinental Championship is supposed to be a launching pad, yet stars like Kofi Kingston, Cody Rhodes, The Miz, and now Wade Barrett have reaped no rewards from wearing this strap.
When I read a report that Chris Jericho vs. Fandango at WM29 was being considered, I chalked it up to just being a rumor and never gave it a thought. Yet here we are, 3 weeks from the Big Show, and it looks like this is what the WWE has planned for Y2J. I have no doubt that Johnny Curtis will give Jericho a great match, but this was WWE's chance to give Dolph Ziggler a true WresteMania moment. When Y2J comes back to have an incredible match and put someone over (especially at WrestleMania), like he did for CM Punk last year, I am confused as to why WWE picked Fandango over Dolph this year.
Instead, Ziggler will team with Big E to take on Team Hell No for the Tag Titles on April 7th. Remember the last time Dolph had a tag team partner? It was Jack Swagger… and they were irrelevant. The frustration continues for fans like me that see the value in Ziggler as a Main Event Superstar. Unfortunately, WWE still cannot decide.
Lastly, we have the ever popular Contract Signing to close the show. As much as Heyman carried Triple H through this segment, it carried on entirely too long and the attack on Paul E. was just awkward. A No Holds Barred match could be a good way to mask their age and ring rust, but this will most likely turn into a sloppy, botch-filled bout that won't impress. I stand firm in my belief that HHH should not be wrestling anymore, and with this added stipulation, that could be the case after Mania.
-A squash match on RAW is fine. Two in a row to open the show is torture.
-Glad to see Big Show get injected into the 6-Man Tag Match at WM29. He is getting older and needs one more Mania moment. Plus, it stacks the deck against The Shield even higher.
-As much as I wanted to see Fandango wrestle last night, what happened was even better. On a live RAW, he got massive heat after walking out of the ring. Plus, no one wants to see any Superstar wrestle Khali.
-Was the crowd is chanting "U-S-A" FOR Del Rio and AGAINST Jack Swagger? I was confused…
-I guess Kaitlyn and Cody Rhodes got TV time together over the past month for nothing?
-It was a shame to see Brad Maddox get relegated to WWE Active last night.
-I find it weird that Antonio Cesaro was not even featured. With Miz in the hunt for the IC Title now, will the US Champ even have a match at WrestleMania?
-Great to see Booker T getting put into the WWE Hall of Fame. That will be one heck of an induction speech. This is by far the best class to date.
-The Rock missing from RAW again left a huge gap in the Mania build.
As a whole, last night's RAW could have been better. The majority of the first hour was dead space, although the show did pick up as it went along. This just didn't feel like a Pre-Wrestlemania RAW to me. Maybe it was the crowd, or the lack of quality in some of the matches, but I think it was below the standards WWE has set in the episodes we have seen over the past two months.
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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