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MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - WWE RAW Review, Early Wrestlemania 30 Thoughts, Lesnar/Taker, & more
By Mr. Tito
Feb 24, 2014 - 11:15:36 PM
The "Excellence in Column Writing" has returned as I just couldn't resist reviewing Monday Night RAW immediately after the show. How could I not? This is the first RAW on the way towards Wrestlemania 30. After a throwaway Pay Per View at Elimination Chamber, which resolved nothing, we can now get serious about the WWE's #1 show. More importantly, the WWE is debuting the WWE Network today...
But stealing the headlines from Wrestlemania 30 or the WWE Network is the real possibility that John Cena hurt his knee badly tonight at the hands of the Wyatt Family. With some early reports of swelling, that can't bode well for Cena or his ligaments. Granted, the guy has superHuman healinG powers, but it would be a sHame to see him miss Wrestlemania and to possibly use his big star to create another one in Bray Wyatt. Yeah, I said it about Wyatt only because Cena has a great track record with CM Punk during 2011 and Daniel Bryan during 2013.
I'll reserve judgment of the possibilities for Wrestlemania 30 IF John Cena is legitimately injured. I know one thing... History has shown that those who injure the top superstar are often punished, booking wise. While Bray Wyatt might be safe, his 2 flunkies might not be if Cena is legitimately out for months to miss Wrestlemania 30 and at the beginning of the WWE Network.
Already, the Internet Wrestling Community (IWC) is calling for a Brinks truck to drive up to CM Punk's house to get him back. For one, CM Punk is highly paid by the WWE thanks to his 2011 contract. Second, the guy walked out of the company before his lucrative contract expired through July 2014 and was willing to miss the Wrestlemania 30 payoff. Money is not an object to CM Punk... Working your ass off and seeing a guy like Batista returning and instantly getting the WWE Title spot at Wrestlemania is.
Speaking of Batista, he wrestled Alberto Del Rio to a poor outing... Batista is just out of shape and just hasn't evolved his wrestling style to convince WWE fans how worthy he is as a Wrestlemania 30 headliner. Brock Lesnar, in contrast, is a completely different wrestler from 2012-present than he was during 2002-2004. Granted, Lesnar was in UFC and has incorporated that psychology into his wrestling style, but the point is that Lesnar is a different and better wrestler than he was before. Batista is not... He looks like an aging bodybuilder and the WWE is doubling down on the guy because he's in a Marvel movie. No, not the Avengers movies, X-Men franchise, or Spiderman, but a lesser known one. Movie stars don't translate to great business. Aside from the Wrestlemania shows, the Rock wasn't drawing strong RAW ratings from his appearances.
Randy Orton interrupted the Del Rio/Batista match, which was probably the most excited I've ever been to see Orton... Orton was on the mic and it distracted Batista (or Bootista) enough to allow Alberto Del Rio to get the roll-up win. Orton actually made mention on how the fans were not receiving Batista well upon his return and Batista gave the old "fans cheer for what they want" crap. No, they see you as a washed-up pro wrestler who has been handed everything by your real life buddy backstage, Triple H. Batista has had everything handed to him on a silver platter while the fans want Daniel Bryan to challenge for the WWE Title at Wrestlemania.
Instead for Daniel Bryan, he'll be wrestling Triple H. The IWC shouldn't discount this match... It's a big deal to wrestle Triple H, who despite my criticisms of him since 2002 as a wrestler and from events backstage, is an all-time great WWE performer. I have NO problem with this match being booked IF and ONLY IF Triple H puts Bryan over 100% clean and Triple H begs for mercy like a heel. Then, particularly at Extreme Rules 2014, Bryan goes on to win the WWE Title from whomever. Triple H needs to think like the Executive Vice President that he actually is... HHH is still an asset as a performer and he should use it to grow Daniel Bryan as a WWE asset. I'm willing to bet that WWE fans would respect HHH much more if he did business with Bryan. I would.
Hulk Hogan is the Wrestlemania 30 host... I'll tell ya, it was WEIRD seeing him in a WWE ring again. But it's good to have him back home with the WWE again. Hogan and Vince McMahon made lots of money together and Hogan can be a great mouthpiece for the WWE Network. Many were mocking Dixie Carter for just letting him go. It wasn't like she had Hulk Hogan, the wrestler... She had Hulk Hogan, the backstage official who just wasn't cutting it as a decision maker. In the WWE, Hogan is a wrestling personality and the fans can easily love him that way... In TNA, he was failing as a decision maker. I don't blame Dixie for letting Hogan go. Hogan was in TNA from 2009 to 2013 and TNA doesn't have much to show for it other than hanging by a string.
Michael Cole said that Hulk Hogan "headlined 9 Wrestlemanias". What am I missing here? I'm counting 8...
"Meh" to the Summer Rae vs. Emma match, although both ladies showed glimpses of athletic talent and were both looking smokin' in the ring. I'd rather see Summer Rae vs. Emma than I would Fandango vs. Santino, for sure.
Sheamus vs. Christian was a damn good match and the WWE fans reacted positively to their battle. I've argued for years that both guys can go (ditto for Alberto Del Rio, in the same boat). It's just that their personalities and the way their characters are booked just has no appear to the mainstream WWE. But to put on great matches on the midcard of RAW, they still have a role.
Nice segment on Tony Atlas and Rocky Johnson as a tag team for Black History Month. Funny how the WWE seems to be embracing their history now that fans will have access to lots of past footage on the WWE Network.
WWE tried Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt and Cesaro vs. Big E tonight... I have no problem admitting that those guys are the possible "future of the WWE", but those matches were a bit weak. Each of the 4, particularly Big E and Reigns, still has some seasoning required under the WWE spotlight. What needs to be understood is that Main Event wrestlers aren't made overnight. John Cena, CM Punk, and Daniel Bryan took years of scraping and clawing in the WWE midcard to eventually rise to the top. When it was their time, the fans were heavily behind them. I heard mixed crowd reactions for the guys, other than Cesaro who appears to be ready NOW and has more experience in the WWE world. Just takes patience...
The final segment of RAW involved Brock Lesnar in the ring with Paul Heyman as his mouthpiece. Paul Heyman dominated the microphone and helped fend off any "Undertaker" chants or whatever else the crowd wanted to try. Actually, the fans probably enjoyed listening to a great promo master like Paul Heyman. Heyman went to the Authority for a WWE Title challenge at Wrestlemania 30 but HHH/Stephanie had other ideas. They gave him an open contract instead. Upset, Heyman/Lesnar were ready to refuse to participate at Wrestlemania 30 and then the music hit... Out comes the Undertaker and we now have our true HUGE match made at Wrestlemania. No Sting, *sniff**sniff*, but if the Undertaker is OK with taking on Lesnar, then I can't dispute it. Undertaker has a superb track record, even at his older age, so I'll have to back it.
Great finish, as Lesnar signed the contract and then tried to be a dick by forcing the Undertaker sign the contract himself. Undertaker stabbed Lesnar's hand with the pen on the contract and then chokeslammed Lesnar through the table! It's one of those awesome WWE moments that you'll NEVER forget! I'm ready for Wrestlemania 30 now.
LAST WORD: Pretty solid night for the WWE and a well booked show to start hyping Wrestlemania 30. So far, we have Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker, Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan, Batista vs. Randy Orton, and John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt (if Cena isn't injured). Aside from the potential disaster with Orton/Batista for the WWE Title, it's not bad... Undertaker/Lesnar and Triple H/Bryan have real potential to shine as "Match of the Year" candidates. WWE better pray that John Cena is not injured or they're screwed. I'm going A on this show, with only the "+" removed due to the lame WWE Title feud.
Did I buy the WWE Network? Not yet... As a consumer, I'm not ready to part with $60 yet (I split up my Pay Per View costs, FYI). However, the future is looking pretty bright for the WWE and Daniel Bryan COULD be put in a position to succeed after Wrestlemania 30. We'll see.
For those who have the WWE Network, enjoy the show(s)!
Comments and debates are welcome on Twitter. Bring it on. @titowrestling
SO JUST CHILL TILL THE NEXT EPISODE!
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