1. THIS should be the first show of the new year. It’s loaded to the gills and people are already talking about things as if it’s WrestleMania season. My day job takes place at the “Worldwide Leader in Sports” where there’s another HUGE event going on tonight and yet I was STILL hearing more talk about tonight’s Raw!
2. OK, there was a very well put together video package featuring the returning Rock as well as featuring both CM Punk and Ryback, playing up the fact that The Rock will know his Royal Rumble opponent tonight. And yet, you open the night with John Cena‘s music. Complete misfire by WWE, especially considering who the main players are for the show. And of course, John Cena is once again in cheerleader mode, putting over The Rock as the biggest thing ever to hit the WWE. His main gripe with The Rock for OVER A YEAR was that he left and came back so often. Now Cena’s excited that he came back again?
3. So next week is the 20th anniversary of Raw. Last year we had the 1000th episode of Raw. In 2011, we had “WWE All Star Night” and “Raw: Power To The People”. In 2010, there was the 900th episode of Raw as well as “Old School Raw”. I’m not going back any farther but you see my point. The themed Raws are becoming too much of a fallback plan, especially since the show has gone to a weekly 3-hour format. It’s too much for the audience to sit through live (which includes a Superstars taping) and it’s too much for the fans to sit through at home. I can’t tell you how many times since they’ve gone to 3-hours that I’ve wanted to just go to bed on Monday night and watch Raw on delay Tuesday when I could fast-forward whenever I felt like it. It’s also the reason why I don’t watch SmackDown anymore. What’s the point?!
4. It’s just about halfway through this HUGE show and I just realized I’m only on my forth thought. There’s been nothing to talk about, nothing even to speculate on. I’ve actually been looking for more information on when the WrestleMania 29 Axxess tickets go on sale because aimlessly searching WWE.com and Google is more entertaining than this show.
5. My GOD! Antonio Cesaro’s Neutralizer on The Great Khali was one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen on Raw! That deserved a thought all its own.
6. I know there are probably promo and storyline issues that need to be taken care of at the end of the show (during The Rock’s return) but it bothers me to no end that a WWE title match is taking place in the middle of a 3-hour show rather than actually in the main event. Punk has enough confidence in his ability that he probably has the mindset that he’s going to “steal the show” no matter what but the WWE Championship SHOULD be the main event, no matter who has a promo to close the show. Even The Rock.
7. That was a “good” TLC match but I can’t really say it was anything special. Their Hell In A Cell match was actually much better but a lot of that could have been the “unexpected” nature of the match and it’s outcome. Every one was expecting Punk to face The Rock at the Royal Rumble and that The Shield would eventually get involved. It was absolutely a great effort by both men but I think they just had too many other things to overcome.
8. “Pipe Bomb: Version 2.0” wasn’t as good as the first one but it was the one that should have happened the first time around. Because this was a HEEL promo compared to the very “internet” friendly first promo. Everything he said was true but it was said in a way that people didn’t really wanted to hear. That’s the brilliance of CM Punk and his creativity when it comes to wrestling and how to manipulate an audience.
9. Quick thought but an important one, there’s no Paul Heyman in the ring once The Rock entered the picture. These two men HAVE to be the focus and the exclusion of Heyman was absolutely the right idea.
10. While there was a little too much humor for me, thank God CM Punk was able to bring out a serious side of The Rock and their match at the Royal Rumble. I was extremely afraid we were just going to get Rock vs John Cena 2.0 where they just traded barbs and The Rock still tried to inject as much humor as possible but both men were still able to turn the exchange serious when it needed to be. There’s a lot that still has to happen between these two but it was a strong start that gives two very creative men a good leaping off point.