WWE RAW Review
The go-home RAW for WrestleMania 29 is in the books and the WWE delivered a show full of promos building all of the headlining matches on this Sunday's card, but hardly any wrestling.
There were hits and misses. Let's take a closer look…
The last segment of the night will be the one everyone is talking about. The Undertaker set up everything perfectly, while Paul Heyman treaded the line between entertaining and offensive. The entrance of the Druids was very old school and cast an eerie feeling over the Verizon Center, and when Heyman appeared at the top of the ramp I shot out of my seat. There is no way that the WWE could have injected any more animosity into this rivalry, and it has become the most intriguing match-up The Undertaker has had at WrestleMania in quite some time. What we saw last night was one of the most shocking RAW moments since the Attitude Era, and the WWE should be given so much credit for booking this match the way it has. It has been spot on since Punk won the 4-way match weeks ago, and I cannot wait for them to go at it.
Of all the promos performed last night, The Rock stole the show. He was confident, spoke straight from the heart, and made us believe that John Cena has no chance of walking away from MetLife Stadium with the WWE Championship. It was interesting to hear Rock talk about this match not being about passing a torch. I thought that was something that was to be left unspoken, but putting it out in the open only reiterates how important this match is to him. This segment felt extremely vintage, and Rock's energy brought the "big match" feel of this program to the next level. This is exactly what the WWE needed after Cena's performance, which I will get too later on…
Although there were very few matches last night, both Dolph Ziggler vs. Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho vs. Antonio Cesaro were very impressive. Instead of playing it safe like most do a week before the Big Show, all four superstars went all out and gave us near falls and high-risk spots, while successfully tying in their respective WM29 storylines. Hopefully after April 7th, we will get back to seeing more matches like these week in and week out.
John Cena's promo to open the show could have been so successful, but this was too long and painfully repetitive. Cena, playing a babyface, would not stray from that role, and was being booed louder that any heel in the locker room. Cena stayed serious, and said all of the right things (albeit entirely too many times), but all he did was hold up the mic with a smirk on his face when he got heat. He never played to the crowd, and every word came out so scripted. A heel John Cena could have worked those fans into a frenzy, and the interest in this match would top all others on the card. Instead, he just kept telling us his time is now. Cena has done such a good job in the build to WM29, but I was not buying what he was selling last night.
It's always great to see Shawn Michaels on WWE programming, but if the creative team thought he would bring life to the HHH/Lesnar rivalry, they were mistaken. Like Cena, Michaels went on far too long and lost me until Lesnar's music hit and Paul Heyman had the floor. As good as Heyman was, his barrage of insults absolutely buried Triple H and made him look old and weak. It was a bit too much…
My frustration with this year's build to WrestleMania is the lack of storyline development on every under card match. The Miz and Wade Barrett have absolutely no history other than commentating each others matches for the past few weeks, Mark Henry and Ryback just want to see who is stronger, Ziggler/Big E have nothing in common with Team Hell No aside from AJ running around a ring, and the mixed tag match is purely for entertainment value. The WWE has 6 hours of television time each week, yet the company only promoted 4 WM29 matches proactively. All other bouts have gotten hardly any build. I understand that the undercard is not the moneymaker, but these are the superstars we will be left with once the part-timers phase out. Neglecting most of the titles and mid-card talent will soon come back to bite the company if they do not change things in a hurry.
-As much as I didn't want to see Show, Orton, and Sheamus fight 3MB again, it was smart to give Big Show the finish. He needed to get some fan support before Sunday.
-It will be interesting to see where the tag team division goes after April 7th. There are numerous teams that could gain traction, and with WM29 over, there will be more airtime to make these copper belts appealing again.
-The Ryback vs. Mark Henry match may not be the best, but if booked right, Ryback can land a huge spot and earn a position in the main event scene post-Mania.
-The Intercontinental Title being defended on the pre-show of WM29 is an embarrassment to everything that belt stands for. Very disappointing.
-I firmly believe that if given enough time, Chris Jericho vs. Fandango could be the best wrestling match this Sunday.
-Steve Austin told Cameron that she would never make it in the WWE on Tough Enough… This may be the first time Stone Cold was wrong about anything in the wrestling business.
Overall, RAW was appropriate for a go-home WrestleMania episode. There was a bit too much talking for my taste, but the WWE needed to make sure every last word was said before WrestleMania. The time for talking is over… This Sunday everything gets settled.
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 WrestleMania!
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