The Road to Wrestlemania truly began to take shape this week on RAW with a new WWE title design unveiled (Stay tuned later this week for a post on Review Fix’s thoughts on the new title design). With both major title matches decided, the minor feuds began to take shape. The major ones continued to be polished. Overall, the show was a slow build-up, with little pay off.
The show started off with a bang though. John Cena agreed to put his ticket to a WWE title shot at Wrestlemania on the line against rival CM Punk next week. While it’s obvious that Cena will get the win, it gives Punk another reason for a venting promo at some point before Wrestlemania. That will open the door for whoever his WM opponent will be. Hopefully, it’ll be The Undertaker.
The rest of the show was filled with quick matches and a ton of posturing. While some of it was necessary, most of the show dragged. Away from Brad Maddox’s appointment as Vicki Guerrero’s assistant and Vince McMahon’s challenge to Paul Heyman, not much else happened this week. Sure, The Rock’s championship celebration was fun, but the WWE needs to pick up the pace- and quick. Wrestlemania is way to close to waste three hours of television like this.
Mark Henry vs. Sin Cara: Despite a few kicks from Sin Cara, Henry was in control. This was a squash match. After a Running Powerslam, Henry picked up the limp Sin Cara and nailed him with the World’s Strongest Slam for the win. After the match Great Khali came to the ring, but Henry didn’t want to “dance.”
The Miz vs. United States Champion Antonio Cesaro: The champion worked over Miz with a variety of weapon shots and submission holds. Miz made a quick comeback with a Drop Toe Hold onto a chair, followed by the Figure-Four, which earned him the submission victory in the non-title match.
Dolph Ziggler w/ AJ Lee and Big E. Langston vs. World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio w/Ricardo Rodriguez: Ziggler, armed with a slew of drop kicks and other high-octane offense, was in charge for a good majority of the match. Help from Langston kept it that way. However, a reverse Superplex from Del Rio evened out the match. A series of kicks and a Titl-a-Whirl Sideslam later and Del Rio was then in the driver’s seat. Ziggler fought back with a neckbreaker, but Del Rio was a step ahead. After he took care of Langston, Del Rio got the win via submission. After the match, Langston hit Del Rio with his finisher and Ziggler nearly cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase. Luckily for Del Rio, Rodriguez stole the briefcase and ran away. Although Rodriguez dropped it at the entry ramp, it gave Del Rio enough time to recover and make Ziggler decide to hold on to his title shot.
Primo, Epico and Rosa Mendez vs. Tensai, Brodus Clay and Naomi w/Cameron: Naomi had a few nice spots against Mendez, but Clay ultimately got the quick win with the splash.
WWE Tag Team Champion Daniel Bryan vs. Jack Swagger w/Zeb Colter: A solid back and forth encounter with two more than solid workers. The near-falls set the match apart for the rest of the card. Even though the match ran a bit long, there was plenty of action. Bryan looked like he had the upper hand, but Swagger escaped the No Lock and worked on Bryan’s knee. After a Chop Block, Swagger grabbed Bryan by the ankle and won via submission courtesy of the Patriot Lock.
Chris Jericho, Sheamus and Ryback vs. Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins: Another solid match filled with tons of offense. The Shield sold a ton in the early going, as Jericho and company poured on the moves. But with a series of competent tag and double teams, The Shield fought back. That all changed once Ryback got in the ring. Like last night however, a Reigns spear changed the momentum. Jericho nearly had the match won when he had Ambrose dead to rights in the Walls of Jericho, but a Rollins flying knee put Jericho out and allowed Ambrose to get the pin.
Kofi Kingston vs. Damien Sandow: This match never started as Sandow brutalized Kingston before the bell rang. Luckily for Kingston, his former tag team partner, R-Truth hit the ring and nailed Sandow with the Axe Kick.
Randy Orton vs. WWE Tag Team Champion Kane: Several near-falls and plenty of signature offense. Nevertheless, this was a snoozer. Both of these guys are over and deserve to be on the show. But the way this match was put together was a joke. And since it meant nothing, it was simply a way to kill some time before The Rock’s “Championship Celebration.” It was far from terrible, but with no storyline to make it mean something, this was a routine encounter. Just when it appeared Kane was ready to hit the Chokeslam, Daniel Bryan hit the ring and caused the distraction Orton needed for the RKO and the win.