Monday, March 25, 2013

LIVE Raw thoughts - March 25, 2013

11:20 - An overall poor way to end an otherwise pretty good show.  The segment ran WAY too long and seemed poorly organized.  The questions were too long and too similar.  And just when it seemed like Cena found an edge, he got physically bested by the Rock.  Just like he did throughout the build for their prior WrestleMania match.  And just like he did AT their WrestleMania match.  If they're not going to turn Cena heel -- and I don't think they will -- stop building up the possibility that he'll have to cheat to win.  Instead, give him an edge and make him a bit of a bad ass face.  This just made him look like a chump. In front of an audience that already feels that way.

11:03 - Well the last thing John Cena needs is to walk into arena after arena throughout the country and be greed with disdain.

11:00 - I assume they'll be doing a similar Hall of Fame panel for the Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger match next week.

10:54 - I say it every week (well, every week that he appears)....but I honestly believe Rock would seem fresher and less repetitive if he didn't wear the same exact workout gear every single time he's on WWE television.  Change it up a bit!

10:47 - Well that changes everything!  If I had known the panel included people from THIS YEAR'S class, I definitely would've said Foley.

10:42 - Fun fact:  Last time AJ and Kaitlyn fought, AJ won in literally 30 seconds.  Don't believe me?  Check it out yourself:

Yes, YET AGAIN they did a "champion loses a non title match to build a new challenger" instead of, ya' know, simultaneously building up a strong champion and a strong challenger.  But whatever.  At least they're doing the match.  And AJ better win!

10:32 - Wait....they're doing AJ vs. Kaitlyn TONIGHT?  I know I sang the praises of Undertaker and Punk going at it before Mania, but not EVERYBODY has to have a physical confrontation before their WrestleMania match (assuming that's where this is going).  Tonight alone we've seen Fandango and Jericho go at it (necessary), the Shield and Big Show/Sheamus/Orton go at it (unnecessary), Barrett and Miz have an entire MATCH (unnecessary to the extent they took it), and now this?  Why not just let AJ squash Natalya (everybody does anyway) and then demand a title shot?

10:20 - They're definitely building up this Tensai/Brodus/Cameron/Naomi vs. Cody/Damien/Nikki/Brie feud...but I'd be shocked if that actually makes the WrestleMania card.

10:05 - Interested in seeing who's on the panel.  We know Lawler and I've heard Bret Hart (and Flair was supposed to).  That's two people (all are Hall of Famers).  My guess for the other three would be Arn Anderson, Ricky Steamboat, and Dusty Rhodes.  I'd love Jim Ross to be there, but if he was, I'd assume he'd be the moderator.

9:59 - Hey Ryder....your black and red trunks do not go with your black and purple boots.

9:49 - You know how I feel about champions losing clean in non title matches in order to create a new challenger, but my bigger issue with the match was that -- believe it or not -- it was TOO good.  I mean, that was a back and forth match with a lot of false finishes.  I assume they're fighting at Mania....don't give away too much before the big match.

But hey, it looks like they might be doing AJ vs. Kaitlyn at WrestleMania.  Which means all (or much) will be forgiven.

9:32 - This is why there is so much animosity built up towards Triple H.  Did Triple H kicking Wade Barrett in the junk do ANYTHING to help build Triple H/Lesnar?  Did it do anything to make people want to see that match more?  On the other hand, did it do anything to hurt Wade Barrett (aside from the obvious way)? I think it may have.  The rewards did not, in any way, outweigh the risks here.

9:24 - I know I've been complaining about guys like the Usos and Cesaro suffering needless losses, but I guess the fact remains that if they're not going to be competing at WrestleMania it makes sense for those who will be to look strong.  And with that in mind, why job out Dolph Ziggler at the beginning of the show?  Would't the confrontation between Ziggler/Langston and Team Hell No be a little stronger had Ziggler won a match earlier in the show?  If Ziggler loses the match and then Langston attacks the champs aftewards, they're still not the champions.  So that visual/message doesn't do much to make the team a threat.  The better message would have been that with Langston, Dolph can't be beat.

9:03 - I was ABOUT to write "I'll take what I can get" in regards to Cesaro getting a count out victory, but then they had to have Del Rio run in JUST to make Cesaro tap post-match.  I'm guessing we'll see a cluster, mutli-person match for the US title in the WrestleMania preshow.  Sigh.

8:58 - Loved Antonio giving the "time" signal as ADR and Rodriguez limped to the ring.  And the Champion vs. Champion graphic is pretty cool, too.

8:56 - Cesaro has fallen into that really frustrating and confusing trap WWE sets up.  He went from getting big, clean wins and getting REALLY protected in suddenly never winning at all.  I mean, how crazy is this?  He lost, clean, to the Miz in order to build a match for Wade Barrett.  That's right....the US Champion lost clean in an attempt to build the story for the Intercontinental Championship.

8:52 - Ya' know, at first I thought fans were being snarky when they said Cena was blaming his divorce on his loss to Rock....but I guess I wasn't paying close enough attention to that video.  Indeed, WWE quite explicitly states that Cena's divorce was due to his loss to the Rock.

8:47 - WWE's bipolar treatment of the Usos makes it impossible to ever get behind them.  When WWE wants to act like they have a tag team division, they typically treat the Usos pretty well (they've performed strongly during elimination and turmoil matches, for example).  But then they'll randomly lose handicapped matches against Mark Henry or the Big Show.

8:30 - Greatttt.  After two weeks of finally giving Dolph Ziggler some wins (although they were usually cheap), it looks like Dolph is back to his losing ways.  Totally unnecessary loss.

8:21 - I'll admit that the Fandango/Jericho brawl did make me somewhat interested in their feud (and the crowd exploded) but I'm still so incredibly baffled as to why this is happening during WrestleMania, when some far bigger and more established characters are doing nothing.  Like, a Cody vs. Jericho match is fresh. So is Cody vs. Miz.  So strange.

And I've been riding on Fandango for him getting a WrestleMania match, but the fact that Big E. Langston has one as well is equally strange.

8:11 - Fine enough opening and I thought it was a really good idea for the Undertaker to appear and get physical with Punk.  So often, these WrestleMania feuds are being built up to avoid physicality.  And a lot of the times, it's the right decision.  But sometimes there's just too much talking and you need to see them get physical.  That was the case with Punk and Undertaker.  Having them go at it definitely built the tension and excitement, in my view.

7:30 - Alright, so we're about a half hour away from Raw -- the second to last episode before WrestleMania.  And so far, A LOT of people are still without matches.  I'm fairly certain we're going to see Wade Barrett vs. the Miz for the Intercontinental Championship and the Chris Jericho vs. Fandango match that nobody asked to see, but what about Cody Rhodes, Antonio Cesaro, Kofi Kingston, and a handful of others?  I'm STILL baffled that Fandango -- who's an NXT rookie who hasn't even had a match under this character -- is going to be getting a match and the names above are not.  I just don't get it.

And to those that argue that part timers like the Rock and Triple H and the like returning isn't costing anybody their spot, let's look at Dolph Ziggler.  It cannot possibly be a coincidence that in December he got a win over John Cena in the final match of that month's PPV.  And then in January, HE was the person who got the "Royal Rumble" storyline, having to enter #1 and having to last the entire match.  However, when it came time for an ACTUAL WrestleMania build, the creative team seemingly couldn't be bothered with him. I refuse to believe if the Rock wasn't taking up the main event spot -- and Brock Lesnar and Triple H weren't taking a special attraction spot -- that Dolph Ziggler's position wouldn't have been better.  And probably by a large margin.

In that regard, WrestleMania is quickly becoming Survivor.  Survivor used to occasionally bring back former popular cast members.  And slowly but surely, the producers began to realize that the best ratings and drama came from those characters.  And now, for the past several seasons, there has always been at least one returning favorite.  And for better or worse, it has really impacted the dynamic of the game (the returning favorites almost always last until the end).  The same is happening with WrestleMania.  Yes, there's an upside to having former Superstars appear -- particularly for the company -- but there's an increasingly noticeable downside as well.

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