This week’s RAW was exactly what you’d expect the week before Wrestlemania: a ton of vignettes and promos and not much wrestling. But seriously, what would you expect? By eliminating many of the matches on RAW and going vignette and promo crazy the past few weeks, the WWE has created a solid buzz for their biggest pay per view of the year.
Even if it’s aggravated hardcore fans that watch the show for wrasslin’, it’s impossible to argue that the month-long teases haven’t made the matches for this year’s Wrestlemania more enthralling.
As a result, it’s easy to see the promotion has had a method to their madness all along.
Billed as a “Night of Confrontations,” it was exactly that.
It was interesting to see the WWE start the final RAW before Wrestlemania with CM Punk in the middle of the ring. It was even more interesting to see Punk hit the GTS on Orton at the end of the segment. While Punk is one the promotion’s top heels, this angle was in dire need of some drama and this segment added some. With Orton’s kayfabe injury, Punk had some canvas to paint himself as despicable and evil, while putting Orton in the spot of the babyface fighting an injury. As a result, he made the most of what he had and set the scene for what should be a great upper-midcard contest at Wrestlemania, despite its lack of an intriguing story.
The lack of real matches hurt the overall show, but with the induction of the Road Warriors and Paul Ellering into the WWE Hall of Fame and the appearances of Shawn Michaels and The Rock provided enough mark out moments to satisfy every fan.
At the same time, it wouldn’t have hurt the company to have a decent match on the card tonight.
For example, the Triple H/Undertaker promo was entirely too long. Sure, it was entertaining, but does it pay to have them on RAW for so long, especially when they could have gotten the same result in half the time and still given someone a chance to perform? It’s sad that in a day and age where ratings matter more than quality of content [because high ratings doesn’t necessarily mean the content is fantastic] that the WWE can’t give 10 minutes out of the show to develop a youngster or a future storyline that isn’t connect to a pay per view. Instead, all their energy is being focused on mania.
And shoddy drunken-Snookie promos.
It’s not a terrible thing, it just goes to show you that if you’re a younger star in the WWE and not involved in Wrestlemania in anyway, you’re on hiatus for six weeks or so.
This wasn’t what this episode of RAW will ultimately be remembered for however.
The final segment with The Rock, The Miz and John Cena saved what could have otherwise been a long and tedious show. All three are excellent on the microphone and brought it in a way that if you weren’t going to purchase the promotion’s signature PPV, you are now.
With the kind of ending RAW had, with Cena hitting an Attitude Adjustment on Rock, something special has to happen this Sunday.
Edge and Christian vs. Alberto Del Rio and Brodus Clay: a decent tag match that with some quick tags and high-flying moves brought back some memories of E & C’s younger days. Clay did most of the heavy lifting for his team, with Del Rio playing the role of antagonist. Not able to hold the ring with Christian, Del Rio isn’t being portrayed as solidly as he needs to be going into Wrestlemania. Instead, he’s being painted as an opportunist. As well, with a handful of loses in his first few matches, Clay, despite of his massive size and cool look, has looked totally beatable.
Justin Gabriel w/ The Corre vs. Santino Marella w/ Tamina, Vladimir Kozlov, Big Show and Kane: Marella gets the crowd pumped up like few superstars can. While it was a relatively quick match, it proved to be a nice transition before the Triple H/Undertaker promo. It also sets the scene for what should be a fun eight-man tag between The Corre, Marella, Kozlov, Big Show and Kane. At the same time, it’s sad to see someone like Kane pretending to blow a flute in the ring. One of the sports greatest big men has become completely devalued, just a few months after a World Title reign.
Jack Swagger vs. Jerry Lawler: It’s crazy to see what good shape Lawler is in, even in his ‘60s. Even though he can’t compete with a guy like Swagger at his age, he didn’t have to, quickly enlisting the help of a steel chair. To see him so desperate to get at Michael Cole makes their upcoming match a must-see.
Dolph Ziggler w/Vicki Guerrero and Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan and John Morrison: Guerrero brought the heat with her impersonation of Morrison before the match. However, the WWE continued the everlasting trend of going to commercial break in the middle of the match, essentially almost robbing the contest of any flow. Luckily, the match picked up its pace upon the return from commercial and did its job by setting up the matches for Wrestlemania. However by having Sheamus beat Bryan with his finisher on RAW, does that take away from their contest this Sunday?