[Note From Ray: Rambling Road To WrestleMania will indeed make a return later on today so make sure you come back for that. This week it’ll be Richard as he wrote part 2 of his top 10 WM matches.]
Welcome to the Weekly Report from the guys here @TheTopRope, if you haven’t already checked out our Audio Shows, you can catch our Weekly and Weekend Podcasts on iTunes and Talkshoe, just search The Top Rope Wrestling Report.
Simon Iles – @Simon_TTR
I admit it. I am tired of writing about John Cena and The Rock first EVERY week! I used to love The Rock, but even I am getting tired of all of this now, and this week’s duelling musical numbers again left something of a mediocre taste in my mouth. Don’t get me wrong, some of the lines on the part of Cena and The Rock were clever, and it was nostalgic to see Cena come out to Basic Thuganomics’ adorned with a throwback and a padlock. However, it is becoming clearly apparent that most of the vulgarity is completely unnecessary, and that both men are repeating themselves a lot. I hope the match will be good, but the promos are getting a little samey in their content – there’s only so many times I can hear Cena comment that The Rock promised never to go away, and that Cena looks like a box of famous breakfast cereal.
Now, while ‘overshadowing’ may be too strong a term to use, it is a point of frustration for me that, in any other year, Punk-Jericho would be the match the card is built around. James and I spoke on the show this week about the rumours that WWE are thinking about putting this one out as the curtain jerker come April 1st. Personally, I would hate that, as this match deserves to be late in the card with an appropriate length of time and level of drama to accompany it. On that note, I guess it was drama WWE was seeking to add this week by having Jericho bring references to Punk’s alcoholic father into the mix, leaving Punk looking rather vulnerable. Whether this is just mind games, or whether Jericho will continue to press the theme remains to be seen, but it did may me think that Punk may be losing in Miami. What makes me think this even more is that Extreme Rules is in Chicago which also happens to be the final day of shooting for Punk’s eagerly-anticipated WWE DVD. What better way of ending it than having Punk reclaim the title in his hometown?
Elsewhere on Raw and Smackdown this week was the gradual formation of the teams who will represent Big Johhny and Teddy Long at ‘Mania. If the rumours are to be believed, then ALberto Del Rio, Ziggler and Swagger will be joining Christian, Henry and Otunga on team Laurinaitis, setting up a rather strong outfit (and an awesome stable in the making which I comment on on the show this week as well!). In comparison is the rather lightweight group Teddy Long is assembling, which, if the dirtsheets are to be believed will encompass Santino, Kofi, Khali, Ryder, Ezekiel Jackson and perhaps a returning Rey Mysterio. No offence, but if Johhny’s team loses to that random mix of superstars, then it won’t exactly make them look good! With that in mind, I’m hoping we will be seeing a lot more of the Interim Raw GM and his coffee-sipping attorney on both flagships shows in the weeks to come.
Oh, and A-Train is apparently coming back. How random.
James Partridge – @GoofyVillain
As usual, I’m opening my part with discussing the segments with The Rock and John Cena. Now, I can’t say I was looking forward to the Rock and Rap segments, just because I felt they would be a waste. Having watched them, I didn’t really enjoy either, it was just repeating the same thing said the past few weeks, either to music or making it rhyme. Felt it was the weakest moment between these two, hoping for a good segment between Cena and Rock next time out.
As mentioned last weekend, I’d heard about a 10 man match at Wrestlemania, consisting of teams for Teddy Long and John Laurinaitis. This was half confirmed, but actually a 12 man! Interesting additions to both sides so far, Mark Henry, David Otunga and the returning Christian for Team Laurinaitis and Santino Marella, R-Truth and Kofi Kingston for Team Long. Looking at that, and a few rumoured lineups for both sides, Snicklefritz looks to be having a much stronger lineup, with 2 former World Champs already on his side (and a rumoured 3rd on his way…but you already knew that ;).
It looks like we’ll be having Beth Phoenix and Maria Menounos will be facing off in a match at the biggest event of the year. At one point it seemed like there wouldn’t be a Divas match at all this year, then out of nowhere, this issue has suddenly flared back up between the Glamazon and the “Extra” correspondent. Personally, I’d rather leave a match off the card instead of seeing this. I can understand celebrity involvement is needed, but I’d rather see it used with a male celebrity and wrestler, and use someone like Eve or Natalya to face Beth. Give either the match, decent amount of TV time and let them show what Divas CAN do.
Daniel Bryan and Sheamus seems to be in the background of a few feuds right now. Even so, I think it’s going steady and building fine as we get towards April 1st. I don’t think it will be as big as the likes of Punk/Jericho or HHH/Taker, but I am still looking forward to it, and expecting a good match between the Celtic Warrior and the American Vegan.
Shawn Michaels and Undertaker’s promo on Raw was my favourite part of that show. Despite the slight blunder by the Deadman (April 21st? Streak over via forfeit!), it had me hooked in and hanging on the words of both legends. The addition of the Cell, and HBK has made this one of the must see matches for me, and makes me look foolish for doubting it from day 1.
Finally, Chris Jericho took it to the next level with CM Punk, discussing the WWE Champ’s alcoholic father. Many have said how Punk did this with Raven in Ring of Honor, while some have slammed WWE for going this route. For me, I don’t have a problem with it, and actually find it slightly ironic. Especially as these same fans backed CM Punk for using Jeff Hardy’s problems in a promo. It also makes me think Jericho is saying “I have the mind games won, I’m already ahead before the match begins”.
Lee Charleton – @Leeleemu
So here we are, a fortnight away from the Grandest Stage of them all, WrestleMania 28 and I will fortunately be in attendance at the SunLife Stadium but I would be a liar to say I wasn’t more excited about the event itself a month ago. At this time, Taker v HHH, Punk v Jericho, Bryan v Sheamus and Rock v Cena was booked. Sure HBK has been added to the Taker v HHH match and the interactions between the three veterans has been must watch TV although Taker seemingly has his thoughts towards the Jones v Evans fight at UFC 145 on April 21st.
Therefore, in essence that feud has developed and so has Punk v Jericho although I am not too keen on this new angle Jericho has brought into the mix, I was a huge fan of them just fighting over the “Best in the World” and didnt feel the feud had to be made personal, but evidently the WWE creative disagree. Chris Jericho is already over as a heel and will get a heel reaction so I am not too sure why they feel the need to go down that avenue.
Anyway, although those two feuds have been developed positively, the WWE have comprehensively dropped the ball with the Daniel Bryan and Sheamus feud, I am sure the two will have an excellent match but quite frankly, Daniel Bryan’s gimmick for me is truly awful and if he loses against Sheamus at WrestleMania, I can see him falling lower and lower down the card. Furthermore, I am slightly angry at how Sheamus is just seemingly squashing stars that the WWE really could have built better in 2012.
Onto Cena and The Rock, I watched Fast Five recently and honestly I got more enjoyment from that film then I have any of the recent exchanges between these two. To be honest, to me they are just coming across as two whinging bitches who need to get over themselves. I am slightly sick of the same comments they make about each other, them doing it through ‘rap and rock’ didnt kid me and quite frankly, the less I see of them both until Mania, the better.
Now the reason I claimed I was more excited a month ago is because I have completely no interest in three of the other four matches, and the match I do have interest in (Team Long v Team Johnny), this time last month I thought it would be a MITB match. In regards to the other three matches, Kane v Orton and Big Show v Cody Rhodes, let me quote The Miz, REALLY?!?!?!?
Who came up with those matches, they could of built a program around Rhodes and Orton, they could of had a seperate US Title match and even could have had a Tag Team match at Mania, the undercard is really underwhelming for me. I was also expecting a Kharma v Beth match. Come April the 1st, I am sure the event will be awesome, but I am slightly disappointed with how the WWE have booked certain parts.