For the last two weeks, Raw has finished pretty strong and it left a lot of starting to see a glimmer of hope. Tonight after a rather lackluster Royal Rumble, Monday Night Raw couldn’t have started any stronger. Yeah, you had John Laryngitis show up and try to play it cool like he was still going to have his job. That was of course until CM Punk came out saying the opposite would happen. To cut a long story short, Daniel Bryan comes out and Sheamus comes out saying he’d face either Punk or Bryan. Top that off with we’re all treated to wrestling at its finest in CM Punk vs Daniel Bryan. All I could think was “Please WWE, PLEASE let those two do what they do best, namely wrestle.” So you’d figure that after that announcement that things would start going downhill. WRONG. We’re treated to Dolph Ziggler vs Randy Orton. So we go from a solid opening to a solid match between one of the WWE’s elite and the biggest rising prospect WWE has at the moment in Dolph Ziggler. Yeah you had Wade Barrett up in the skybox watching the match, but who cares since really, like he has a chance against Orton. Orton wins with the RKO and I have to say that I’ve heard people talk about whether or not the face version of the Viper is working or not. I think it can work so long as he has competition and by competition, I mean more than just Wade Barrett or going the Sheamus approach and putting him against Jinder Mahal every week.
Next you had Brodus Clay vs Tyler Reks who is yet another name that I’m surprised hasn’t been on a milk carton somewhere along with Alex Riley. And before going any further, the answer is no, NXT doesn’t count as TV time. It doesn’t even count as a wrestling show, much less sports entertainment. I wasn’t too big on the “hulk out” moment for Brodus and the all white glittery outfit really doesn’t work. This was your typical Brodus squash match so there was no real reason to grade it. Brodus does his entrance, gets in some offense, hulks out when Reks starts to fight back, Brodus finisher and the end. Fortunately, we had Punk vs Bryan next.
There really is so much I could say about this match to the point where I could probably write a whole article about just that match alone. Two ROH Alumni were going at it in one of the most technical skilled wrestling matches that I’ve seen in a long time. Hell, this match was practically PPV worthy. There was a lot of back and forth action between the two and the match ended with Chris Jericho interfering and taking his shot at CM Punk with a Codebreaker. This was perfect because with Mania looming around the corner, you couldn’t have either champ in Bryan and Punk lose credibility as champions and this pretty much set in stone that Chris Jericho and CM Punk will in fact face each other at Mania. So to everybody that thought otherwise or that Punk would face Triple H or that Chris Jericho would face the Undertaker, put that thought to rest now. There is more money in CM Punk vs Chris Jericho than either of the other two options. Why? Because Jericho in all of his monotone days always kept bragging about being the best in the world at what he does, same as Punk does. What is the point of this match you may ask? To see who really is the best in the world.
The Divas match didn’t last long enough to really grade but it did lead to one hell of a showing from one John Cena who attacked Kane before he could lay a hand on Eve Torres. Not only did he attack Kane, but Cena beat the holy hell out of him. I lost count of how many times Cena clubbed Kane with the ring steps and even went as far as to send Kane running scared. The other upshot with this was that Kane actually mentioning The Rock and that Cena wouldn’t beat The Rock if he didn’t learn to embrace hate. This is good in the fact that you have Kane suggesting in a manner of speaking that Cena is being too soft and not aggressive enough with The Rock, like he’s taking The Rock too lightly. Well, can’t argue with that considering that Cena has gotten the Rock Bottom by Cena on multiple occasions. So in short, The Rock has made John Cena look like a chump and Cena needs to turn up the heat a little bit considering that Wrestlemania is a couple months away. Besides, I find the John Cena that is more aggressive and that has some emotion behind his feuds to be a lot more entertaining. Maybe there’s hope for this John Cena vs Kane feud after all.
Finally we have John Laryngits in the ring and Triple H arrives and showing us all the difference between Johnny Boy and Triple H. More specifically, the fact that Triple H actually knows how to cut a promo or two and just simply work the microphone while John Laryngitis doesn’t know how to do either one. If you listen really carefully, you can hear all the people who were saying “Oh Triple H will keep him” or “Triple H will turn heel” putting a lid on it. Triple H was pretty much slicing and dicing not so big Johnny in to so many pieces and the fact that Triple H suggested the Kiss my Ass club and John actually took out chapstick and puckered up just was laughable and made him look like the most spineless chump alive. Then came the curve ball that NOBODY saw coming right as Triple H was gonna fire John. The Undertaker made his return and called his shot at Triple H and just like the last time where no words needed to be said, The Undertaker indicated that he wants Triple H at Mania one more time. However at least at the moment, Triple H doesn’t want anything to do with it, probably because he doesn’t want to lose power again like he did the last time. This leaves plenty of room for build-up and to people complaining about Hunter vs Taker for the 3rd time at Wrestlemania, drop it all ready because I doubted whether this match should happen or not also, but after seeing it start to set up and build up with the ending of Raw tonight, I say let it happen. These two will put on a good match and there’s no two bigger veterans in the WWE than Taker vs Triple H. The only challenge is what do you add to the match to make this one stand apart from the previous two matches between the two.
From start to finish, you have a way above average Raw complete with strong in ring promos at the start and end of Raw. You had solid wrestling take up the majority of the card excluding the Brodus match and Divas match and with regard to the Punk vs Bryan match, you could’ve easily had a whole hour just with that match alone. Top that off, the pieces are being set in place for Wrestlemania in Taker vs Triple H 3 and Punk vs Jericho and what could possibly be Bryan vs Sheamus on top of the already set main event between The Rock and John Cena. So far, this is looking to shape up into a much bigger Wrestlemania than we were treated to the last time around. If this Raw tonight can be the same or greater for the next couple months leading into Mania, than we’re in for the most entertaining couple of months that the WWE has put together in some time. The countdown to Wrestlemania has officially begun so all that be said is one thing. “Let the Games Begin.”
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