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Posted in: Doctor's Orders
Doctor's Orders: THAT'S how you do Monday Night Raw
By The Doc
Jan 8, 2013 - 12:56:57 AM

Well, when the Irish went down 28-0 at the half, I found myself toasting a great Notre Dame regular season, taking off my jersey for the final time this year, and hanging the flag back up in the closet. With college football in the books, attention turned to Wrestlemania Season. I tuned in for Raw, specifically to see the interaction between CM Punk and The Rock. Though it's not customary for me to post any sort of Raw analysis (anymore), I felt compelled after watching the show to get on here and applaud in print.

Was Raw perfect? Let's get this out of the way and state it definitively for the world to see in hopes that we don't ever have to cover this ground again: it's never blanking perfect and it never was.

What Raw was tonight was compelling. That's about all that one could ask for it to be. The first segment was engaging. Dolph Ziggler, during his promo time with John Cena, stated the obvious that Cena does tend to brush many of his losses under the rug instead of show genuine disappointment in his defeats. That's annoying. But I'm less annoyed because the Show Off called him out on it. They then proceeded to have a match that I will sit here 11.5 months from now and put at the top of the short list for TV Match of the Year. Ziggler, on a night when presumably a few unique eyes would be on the product, jumped right in and looked awesome despite the "L." Cena, needing to look stronger moving forward toward another main-event, got the victory. Kudos to a job well done by both. I could watch them wrestle each other every week and not get bored. Do your thing, Dolph.

Ryback vs. CM Punk an hour or so later was not as compelling, despite weeks of hype. I merely wanted to see Punk get through that match without serious injury and move on to the real main-event of the evening. I'll give credit where its due to both parties for working hard and having a good match, but I don't feel that it was the right time to pull the trigger on it. It was always going to be overshadowed by what we all knew was coming. The Rock was waiting backstage to come out and engage CM Punk. Ryback getting out of the way was merely a formality delayed three weeks by an untimely injury.

Then, finally, The Rock came back again...

But, before that, CM Punk came back and dropped a "Pipe Bomb."

One thing I was very much looking forward to when Rock came back was what effect it would have on Punk. I think Punk has been itching for months to get Rock alone in a wrestling ring, each with a mic in his hand. Punk is on a different level than all but one guy (Cena) on the regular roster and he only got to interact with him for six weeks in 2012. He's a competitive guy. He wants a challenge. To verbally spar with arguably the most naturally charismatic performer in the history of wrestling meets the criteria, one would imagine. I was harkened back to September 2011, which was seemingly the last time that we got to listen to Punk rant in such a way as he did tonight. Not since he was attempting to chop Triple H down to size have we seen him rip into his subject matter quite like he did prior to The Rock's appearance. Bravo, Punk.

Rock likes a challenge, as well. Only a fool would sit back and think that Rock hasn't kept his eye on Punk these last 2 years since he's been back in the wrestling business. There's a marked difference between Punk when he's on versus everyone else in the locker room when they're on. This isn't the same for Rock as going word-for-word with Cena. Rock had the audience won over against Cena before the feud even started. He knows he's going to have to work hard to keep the vocal minority on his side in this story with Punk. Tonight was a good start, as he stepped right up to the plate, did his usual thing, and did it well. People can hate on Rock, but that guy has more "it" and has more presence than just about anyone I've ever seen in 25 years as a wrestling fan. CM Punk, to his credit, did a great job of ensuring that the stage was set, as the heel, for the heroic babyface to come to the rescue. Rock will have to continue this week in and week out until January 27th...he probably ought to do it that night, too. Both of them should work the crowd in backstage interviews prior to the title match.

The Road to Wrestlemania started tonight. It FELT like Mania; a cut above everything that has been on WWE TV for the last six months since Raw 1,000. Even the July celebration didn't really compare to tonight. We've arrived at something special. How many modern main-events do you - honestly - highly anticipate?

Over the weekend, I suggested that the next two Raws (1/7 and 1/14) were going to be big time shows with "big fight" feels. I had a reader comment to me this morning that he really hoped that Raw delivered. Well, I think Raw kicked ass. It helped take some sting off the Irish getting drubbed. Next week, I'll be glued to the TV.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: What'd you think of RAW?

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