1. That opening segment with Paul Heyman started out very interestingly with the idea that Paul Heyman would take himself off of TV, eliminating any potential interaction between his two “clients” CM Punk and Brock Lesnar. Of course that all went out the window when he decided to remain in Punk’s corner but the tease was interesting and for some reason I don’t think we’ll be seeing Heyman after tonight. At least for a couple of weeks.
2. While we unfortunately have to sit through a 3MB match (and probably a promo) the fact that creative has the foresight to book John Cena, Sheamus and Ryback in a “warm up” match since they have never teamed before is terrific. Logical booking like this is what is desperately missing from the WWE, at least until now.
3. I don’t know if it’s part of Chris Jericho’s contract but last week, Jericho was able to face CM Punk and now tonight he gets Daniel Bryan, one on one. Both matches absolutely could be contenders for match of the year (at least “TV Match Of The Year”) and we’ve seen them both within two weeks of one another and its only February! I don’t think we really realized how much we missed Jericho until he returned at the Royal Rumble.
4. No matter what the WWE has decided to call him, Dutch Mantell (“Zeb Coulter”) is a fantastic addition the roster as well as Jack Swagger‘s act. Mantel’s wrestling mind is up there with some of the greats and Swagger’s downfall was ALWAYS his promos. He always seemed to have the right direction for his character, knew what he was supposed to say and how to get over everywhere else but on the mic. Mantel will add to the Swagger act, not to mention that the “American radical” character is a new twist on the heel “American” character and I’m looking forward to watching their progression over the next few months.
5. This was not the best placement on the show for The Miz vs Cody Rhodes, simply because of Antonio Cesaro. You JUST had a segment where you debuted a new character and a new “American radical” gimmick and now you have Cesaro, the US Champion, with his anti-American stance as well. The two gimmicks are FAR too similar and I think the placement of the two segments actually took away from both. People weren’t given the chance to digest one “American-themed” segment only to be thrust into another one. Bad, bad scheduling.
6. This is the typical set-up I have every Monday night:
This is also why I don’t usually see my family after 8 PM.
7. Another Shield segment without much impact. The babyfaces got their revenge BEFORE the pay-per-view, plus there was no announcement of their 6-man tag match at the Elimination Chamber match being IN the actual Chamber itself as it was rumored all day. Honestly without that added stipulation, why would I want to see this match now that the babyface team has gotten their revenge?
8. Its not very surprising to see Kane added to the Chamber match considering Daniel Bryan is already in the match. But is it just me or has the WWE seemingly cooled completely on Dolph Ziggler? He was left off of the show entirely last week because “creative didn’t have anything for him” and now this week he was in a glorified squash match against one half of the long belittled tag team champions. This man was the center point of numerous shows during his feud with Cena and now this? It doesn’t look good for the “Show Off” but let’s just hope this is a minor hiccup in his World Title push.
9. Very cool video package for the Elimination Chamber match highlighting the dangerous nature of it as well as how important it is to win the match (some would argue more important than winning the Royal Rumble). The Elimination Chamber match, not the PPV itself, has become one of the most important PPVs of the year with a lot at stake before WrestleMania. I never gave it much thought before but there’s been a lot of talk this week about how the Chamber PPV is more important than SummerSlam or the Survivor Series and honestly, I can’t disagree. SummerSlam & Survivor Series play absolutely zero importance into WrestleMania and has stand alone PPV, they are surviving on their legacy alone and that itself almost wasn’t enough to save the Survivor Series a few years ago.
10. While The Rock’s “story time” was fantastic as always, this entire segment left me feeling jipped. And not necessarily for tonight’s segment. Yes we got the physicality we expected between the two men facing off for the WWE Championship on Sunday but where was the verbal battle between two of the best “stick men” the wrestling world has ever seen? In my opinion, the reason why we didn’t get all that we deserved was because of Rock’s absence from Raw last week. There we could have had the verbal battle that led to the fight this week but instead the challenger didn’t receive time for a promo about or against the WWE Champion and was only seen twice during the entire 3-hour Raw. Similarly, the WWE Champion was ONLY featured in the final segment of the go-home addition of Raw (which unfortunately was not surprising considering the champion is The Rock). When they were on the screen, both The Rock and CM Punk were allowed to say no more than 2 or 3 lines toward one about their match on Sunday. It’s not often that I campaign for more talking during a wrestling program but honestly, The Rock and CM Punk deserved so much more time to build this rematch and so did we, the fans.