Last night’s Raw was all about one thing: The Rock and John Cena’s match at Wrestlemania.
Raw culminated with The Rock’s return and a face-to-face showdown. The Rock delivered a decent promo calling Cena “kung pow chicken.” Was the promo up to Rock’s usually high standards? No, but it was still entertaining. The promo wasn’t “electric” because The Rock was too busy explaining to the fans whey he has been MIA for the last year.
When the Rock retuned last year, he told the fans he was back and he would never leave again. We all knew that it didn’t mean he was going to appear on every Raw, Smackdown and pay per view. But Cena has done such a good job hammering the point home that Rock doesn’t care about the WWE because he went back on his word to the fans.
Rock told the crowd in Portland that Cena took his comments too literal last year. Is that the best the explanation The Rock can give? Not very electric for a man who calls himself the “People’s Champion.”
Cena has beautifully painted Rocky has a Hollywood star who no longer cares about the company or fans who catapulted him into mainstream stardom. Cena’s best line last night came when he told the Rock that he wouldn’t care if the WWE folded. Strong accusations from Cena.
Their face-to-face showdown was brief. Cena came out, said his peace and left leaving the Rock in the ring was a blank stare. Once Cena was backstage, Rock signed off with his usual “If you smell…” but the damage was done – Cena got the better of the Rock for the first time in this year-long feud. As The Rock continues to call Cena colorful names like “fruity pepples” and “kung pow chicken,” Cena has taken it to the next level as his promos are living in reality. Rock’s promos pander to the fans, who want to see him verbally embarrass Cena.
Whether these two men like each other in real life is irrelevant, however, they’re telling one heck of a story of two icons that come from different eras and have clashing views on what it takes to be a star in the WWE. They’re making fans believe that there is genuine hatred.
Fans are not used to promos like last night. A lot of that has to do with the fact that these two men are probably not confined to a script like 98 percent of guys in the locker room. Because they’re allowed that freedom, you get stunning promos like last night.
**The only traces of The Undertaker and Triple H was another well done video segment with current and past WWE stars talking about their feud. Last night, it was announced Shawn Michaels will return to Raw next week. It will be interesting to see what good ‘ole HBK has to say now that Triple H has accepted Undertaker’s challenge.
**The CM Punk-Chris Jericho feud took up the first 35 minutes of Raw. The setup to their feud is pretty simple: Jericho feels Punk has imitated him and he stated that one of the biggest reasons for his return was to have a chance to face Punk. Punk said while Jericho was doing radio shows and “Dancing with the Stars,” he was winning the WWE title.
Again, a feud founded on simple things involving two heck of a stars, which means great TV for us. Chances are they don’t get a 25-minute match at Wrestlemania, but Punk and Jericho won’t let that stop them from having a tremendous build to their match.
**During the Punk-Jericho setup last night, we saw more of the Teddy Long-John Laurinaitis feud, which I hope doesn’t culminate in a match. The creative writers are working toward one man taking over both shows.
**During this time we also got a little Sheamus-Daniel Bryan sprinkled in. The first match on Raw was champion vs. champion, but so much transpired before and after the match that Punk’s match vs. Bryan match took a backseat. Under/over: The World Heavyweight Title is the fourth match on the card at Wrestlemania?
**We got another chance to watch a Cena-Miz match. The match was good for free TV, but Cena won and looked dominate for obvious reasons. It’s hard to watch Miz these days. Just one year ago he was playing the third wheel very effectively in the Cena-Rock feud. He was the WWE Champion. He was the main eventer at Wrestlemania. What does he have going for him toward Wrestlemania this year? No idea, but it’s a huge fall from grace.
**Overall, it was a good Raw and all of the main players and feuds got decent exposure on Raw. One of the biggest complaints I hear is how the WWE doesn’t build storylines for pay per views. Title matches are sometimes made three days before a pay per view. That’s not the case come Wrestlemania. All the main matches have been made with four weeks to go.