WWE RAW Review
The March 25th Episode of RAW is in the books, and with less than two weeks until the biggest night of the year, WWE effectively advanced its main storylines, but delivered a number of lackluster matches.
There were hits and misses. Let's take a closer look…
The open to the show could not have been any better. Punk's ability to keep the "Best in the World" slogan relevant while continuing to tie it in to every storyline is incredible. Also, it was so interesting for him to talk about Taker having a psychological disadvantage for the first time. It adds yet another layer to this program, and is by far the hottest thing rolling into WrestleMania. All signs point to The Dead Man keeping the streak alive in two weeks, but Punk is saying everything he can to make every fan believe he won't… and he's doing a darn good job.
I never thought I'd say this, but I am really into this Y2J vs. Fandango matchup. Jericho has enough influence backstage to tell the creative team if he didn't want to do something, so he must see something in Johnny Curtis and would like to put him over. Heck, last night he was walking him through the entire segment! Unfortunately the mic picked it up. Anyway, Fandango got massive heat, and he came out looking strong after attacking Jericho. Curtis has quite the skill set, and can run with Jericho if the match is booked right and given enough time. The question is… where does he fit in after Mania? I'm not sure this gimmick has the depth to stay relevant for any length of time.
Although John Cena took a bit too long to get into a groove, the segment featuring himself, The Rock, and the HOF panel brought out a Cena character that we have yet to see. For once, it is Cena that is the underdog, and it is bringing out the best in his on-air personality. We all knew that the last year's loss affected him, but it was not until last night that we found out how Cena really felt… He was in fact the better man, and he should have won! I really enjoyed how he talked about The Rock being the first person to cloud his judgment, and it certainly builds upon how important a win this year really is. The questions from the panel were very unique and effective in their own way, which allowed both The Rock and Cena to cover all bases regarding their match on April 7th. I mentioned before that Taker/Punk had the most momentum moving towards Mania, but this rivalry is a very close second after last night.
Like MSG, getting over in front of a Philly crowd is a great measuring stick as to where you stand as a performer. Alberto Del Rio's pops are usually luke-warm at best, but there were crickets in the Wells Fargo Center. As many good things that Zeb brings to the ADR/Swagger rivalry, both superstars lack the star power to make this feel like a World Title Match at WrestleMania. Even with Sheamus, Orton, and Show already booked, the WWE still could have chosen guys like Ziggler, Jericho, Miz, Ryback or Wade Barrett to be in the WHC picture and garnered way more interest. When Zeb speaks, we forget all about that. But unfortunately, he will only be ringside when these two go at it.
If WWE thinks giving Triple H an open forum to speak is going to get his feud with Brock Lesnar any traction, they are greatly mistaken. The Game didn't even speak as long as usual, but he is recycling the same shtick he used while building their SummerSlam match last year. Hunter, we get it… You are going to beat up Lesnar. Don't you think you could just find a few new ways to say that so we aren't grabbing the remote every time your music hits?
Although RAW offered us a good amount of matches, it was apparent that no one competing wanted to go all out. With RAW being in Philly, I was expecting a hot crowd throughout the night. There were hardly any huge reactions during the matches, largely in part because all of them were simply mediocre. There was a slow pace to every bout and hardly any false finishes. I understand that the health of the talent before Mania is extremely important, but they have a live TV show taking place in front of an old-school wrestling crowd. If they don't like what they see, they let you know. Last night, they let them know often. Props to Team Rhodes Scholars, The Shield, and Antonio Cesaro for stepping up, though… They were solid.
-Good to see Heyman back at Punk's side. Punk doesn't NEED Paul, but he is a tremendous asset to his character.
-Did Mark Henry really have to squash The Usos to get over as a powerhouse? The guy has been around for over a decade… What a waste of time.
-I hoped Ziggler vs. Y2J would have been better. No near falls, and another Ziggler loss. They did not get enough time.
-Not a good sign when the crowd is chanting "Boring!" during Miz vs. Barrett. These two will be wrestling in front of about 50,000 more people than last night in two weeks.
-Khali's role in the WWE has been reduced to taking finishers from heels to get them over. Cesaro, Mark Henry, and now The Shield.
-Looks like Team Rhodes Scholars may have punched their ticket to WrestleMania against Brodus and Tensai. They are two of the best young talents on the roster and deserve a Mania match. I hope it pans out.
-If there had to be a Divas match last night, I'm glad it involved AJ. But why didn't Ziggler and Big E go to the ring with her?
-Always great to see Bret Hart in the ring. I pop every time his music hits, it brings back such great memories.
Overall, this wasn't one of the best episodes of RAW in recent months, but it did have some high points that entertained. It was better than last week, and successfully built the main event matches on the WrestleMania 29 card. I just wish last night's matches had more energy.
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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