WWE RAW Coverage: The Calm Before the Storm?

Washington DC certainly loves John Cena.

April Fools.

There has not been such disdain for Cena since CM Punk was chasing his belt, maybe not even since One Night Stand ’06, when it seemed like all of Philadelphia was hungry for his flesh. Regardless, Washington DC graced Cena with some of the loudest boos and jeers in months. The fans may not be happy with the “part-time champ,” but they certainly would rather Cena fall short of victory next week at Wrestlemania.

If you thought the beginning of the show was an attention grabber, the end of the show made some waves as well. Unlike the promo that played throughout the night, the show did not end with Undertaker “verbally eviscerate[ing] CM Punk.” No one will ever see the Undertaker “verbally eviscerate ” anyone. He doesn’t speak well. He just doesn’t. Speaking is an inherent skill, no one learns it. Punk has it, Cena has it, the Rock has it.

Taker had a manager for a reason, there is no reason for him to say more than a few words. He’s “The Dead Man.” He doesn’t need words. He needs to use those powers that everyone seems to have long forgotten about.
But it looks like Punk will be the one using those as well, as a wonderfully orchestrated ruse of fake Druids and even a fake Paul Bearer, took Taker off his game long enough for Punk to once again beat down the Dead Man.
With Taker lying prone, Punk dumped the contents of the urn over himself and Taker.

Once again, CM Punk gives everyone a reason to watch Wrestlemania.

Matches

Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal and Drew MacIntyre vs. Randy Orton, Sheamus and Big Show: And with two fist-bumps, Big Show’s face-turn is complete. The faces of Smackdown get a warm-up before their ‘Mania match against the SHIELD, in a quick one-sided battle. After the match, the three faces had a stare-down with the SHIELD. JBL made a point to allude to Mania being a time “for moments.” The three Superstars had their moments already; it’s the SHIELD who have something to prove.

WWE Tag Team Champion Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler w/AJ Lee and Big E. Langston: This match is a preview of Mania’s tag title match between Hell No and Ziggler and Langston. What most fans will love about the match is that Michael Cole finally identified Ziggler as using the “Fame-asser,” something the Internet has been waiting for years. Aside from that, this was a solid technical bout that, of course ended with shenanigans that led to a Ziggler win. Post match, the teams brawled it out, with Langston laying out Bryan, and then overpowering Kane. Ziggler, Langston and AJ stood with the tag belts over their beaten opponents.

Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett vs. Zack Ryder: Barrett’s a champion, right? Doesn’t he have any credibility? Instead of perhaps having Barrett and Miz face off in a tag match (foreshadowing their Mania match) Barrett gets fed a big, fat steak, in the form of Ryder. Maybe, had the Intercontinental Champion not been treated as a “commoner,” (to paraphrase Mr. Barrett) in recent weeks, he wouldn’t need to slaughter an under-carder to get some shred of momentum going into the biggest show of the year. Tonight though, Barrett’s Bull Hammer Elbow did the talking.

Santino Marella vs. Mark Henry: You know, in Mortal Kombat, Reptile’s fatality where he just eats the other guy? That’s what Henry did, with his fists and The World’s Strongest Slam.

Zeb Colter w/Jack Swagger vs. World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio w/Ricardo Rodriguez: The only feud that doesn’t seem completely forced, Del Rio v. Swagger takes a strange turn as Colter looks to take Del Rio out himself. While Swagger prayed on Ricardo at ringside, Colter stole one of Ricardo’s crutches, attacking Del Rio. Swagger chop-blocked De Rio’s injured knee, allowing both men to beat down the Champion.

Chris Jericho vs. United States Champion Antonio Cesaro: A great match between two of the company’s most naturally gifted talents, despite a somewhat disjointed interruption by Fandango. Towards the end of the match, Cesaro executed what may have been one if the greatest counters ever, as it was a legit wrestling move, escaping the Walls of Jericho, much to the amazement of the commentary team. He couldn’t do it again as Jericho ended up with the win. After the match, for a second week, Fandango left Jericho lying, with a top-rope leg drop.

Funkadactyles Naomi and Cameron w/ Tensai and Brodus Clay vs. Nikki and Bree Bella w/Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow: How many times has this match happened in the past few week? It seems like too many. What a sheer embarrassment the Bellas are to women’s wrestling. Even in a company that hasn’t put much stock in a women’s division, the Bellas are just disgusting examples of attention-hungry “pretty faces.” Which is a shame, because Cameron and Naomi have the inherent talent to rescue the sinking division by themselves. These girls are done of the most athletically gifted women the WWE has had in years. They carried the match, set the pace, and pulled off every high-spot. That doesn’t mean they could defeat twin magic however. In just a few seconds, the sexy duo captured the victory.

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