This past Monday Night, we saw The Undertaker officially return and also found out CM Punk will be taking on “The Streak” this year. I am incredibly excited about this match as I feel it could and should, steal the show at WrestleMania 29.
However, I am scared and nervous when it comes to The Undertaker’s health. After all, this was the first year that many believed “The Deadman” would miss his trademark show. The fact that it took him until the last minute to start a program involving “The Streak” worries me. I hope that The Undertaker did not just come back because he felt he “Had to.”
Recent shoulder and hip surgeries are hard to come back from quickly. I would rather have him miss this year’s WrestleMania instead of giving a sub-par performance compared to the ones he has given during recent years. I honestly do not believe The Undertaker would come back if he did not feel like he could give the fans his usual classic performance. However, this year’s WrestleMania “Streak” Match has me worried. This is not due to his challenger, but The Undertaker’s personal health.
I just want to start by saying that I loved the Old School Raw setup. This includes the entrances, ringside, referee outfits, microphones, etc. This show definitely brought back some memories of old Monday Nights in front of the television.
The opening promo done by CM Punk, Randy Orton, Big Show, and Sheamus was excellent because it was full of truth. CM Punk realistically challenges The Undertaker because that would be the only other thing for him to do at this year’s WrestleMania with him out of the WWE title picture. I also like the fact that these four guys all wanted to face The Undertaker because they know that ending “The Streak” is bigger than any WWE Championship Match. Personally, I believe this should be how the opponent for The Undertaker is decided every year for WrestleMania. They should have to EARN the right to take on the greatest streak in sports entertainment.
Ryback and Cesaro have fought each other countless times before. Even so, this was their best match yet. The uppercut by Cesaro to counter The Meathook Clothesline had me thinking Cesaro might actually pull off the upset. However, Ryback countered the Neutralizer into the Shell Shock for the win. I praise the finish to this match because it was deserving of a pay-per-view finish and not a simple Raw match. I also like the new spinning powerslam that Ryback has added to his arsenal, which could use a few new moves.
I also loved that Creative teased a possible WrestleMania feud between Ryback and Mark Henry, which personally I would love to see.
The Miz vs. Dolph match had me screaming at my television set. Dolph loses to The Miz?! I get that he has a movie coming out, but there is absolutely no reason The Miz should pin Mr. Money in the Bank, especially, if he cannot even win the United States Championship from Cesaro on multiple occasions.
The John Cena/Dwayne promo did not get me any more excited for the big rematch on April 7. I’m honestly curious to see how Creative books the promos because there really is not much to say between these two. I mean, how many times can John Cena say this is his redemption? I also did not get why it was called point/counterpoint as it should have been called, Stage Interrupt. I did love Dwayne’s Lance Armstrong joke as it pretty much killed the inspirational speech by John Cena.
Jack Swagger’s quick assault on Sgt. Slaughter, Jim Dugan, and Dusty Rhodes was quick and I was fine with that. Obviously, the fact that Jack Swagger is in one of the main events of WrestleMania makes me sick, and those legends did not need to be out there that long as quick cameo appearances sufficed.
I thought it was smart that the Million Dollar Man was in the Prime Time Player’s corner for their tag match with Team Hell No, despite their loss. I could not help laughing at Daniel Bryan for taking the $100 dollar bill out of Darren Young’s mouth after the contest.
The Brodus Clay/Lord Tensai vs. 3MB throwaway match was worth it just to see the Honky Tonk Man break his guitar over Heath Slater’s head.
No debut again for Fandango. What is a shame would be the fact that his gimmick has been set up to fail. The guy has a pretty good physique and a unique look, but will go nowhere besides possibly teaming with Brodus Clay.
Triple H’s promo was nothing special, but it did the job of officially challenging Brock Lesnar to a match at WrestleMania. Here’s hoping we see an added stipulation such as, Last Man Standing or Street Fight.
The New Age Outlaws looked good in their match with Primo and Epico. Personally, I would not mind them making one last run at the Tag Team Belts. At the very least, it would get people to care about the tag team division again.
CM Punk interrupting Mae Young’s 90th Birthday Celebration was pure genius! If there was a Slammy Award for biggest jerk move, then CM Punk would have just won it. CM Punk, I do not have to wait twenty years to realize how much of a genius you are in present day World Wrestling Entertainment.
I was not surprised that CM Punk won the right to face The Undertaker at WrestleMania, but the highly competitive match itself was a pleasant surprise. The Undertaker stare down was definitely the right way to end Old School Raw. I’m looking forward to the back and forth promos as they will definitely be a lot better than the Cena/Dwayne ones.
The show started out with another competitive and entertaining match between Randy Orton and Wade Barrett. I criticize the booking decision only because of The Miz’s victory on Raw. If Miz can beat Ziggler, then Wade should be able to defeat Randy Orton on Main Event.
Cody Rhodes vs. Zack Ryder was the longest Zack Ryder match I have seen in quite a while. I actually liked his trunks with the Internet Championship around his waist. I like Cody Rhodes winning, but what is next for him besides a likely loss this upcoming Monday and a possible romance with Kaitlyn?
Antonio Cesaro reminds me of Alberto Del Rio as he is pretty good overall, but exceptional when working with smaller guys like Sin Cara. Also, Antonio Cesaro’s ring work has improved greatly since coming to World Wrestling Entertainment. Nevertheless, I was shocked that Sin Cara got the win. Cesaro and Dolph just cannot buy victories lately even though one is Mr. Money in the Bank and the other is United States Champion…
Although it did not personally make me laugh, Del Rio and Ricardo spoofing Zeb and Jack’s video rants was a good change of pace in this World Title rivalry. PS. Someone must have told Zeb to get a new jacket.
The ending to the Team Hell No vs. 3MB match was botched and odd looking. However, Daniel Bryan’s 18 seconds Dolph Ziggler joke later in the night salvaged this waste of a match.
Loved the second Ryback and Mark Henry showdown, but the match with Sandow did little for either superstar. This match also signaled Brad Maddox’s addition to commentary, which could not be any worse than Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler’s commentary.
The Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio “Social Media Smackdown” match was similar to the Match of the Week from Main Event a few weeks ago, but not as well executed. However, it was still a treat to watch these guys go at it again. Dolph Ziggler continues to have the best dropkick in the business and it was nice to finally see a reason as to why Ricardo has carried that bucket to the ring for the past few months.
I was shocked to see Yoshi Tatsu in action. Too bad he got booked in a one minute match with Mark Henry.
Damien Sandow’s advice about Kaitlyn was worth it just to watch the two minute Diva’s match.
I will not comment on Fandango, until either he competes or his character is cut altogether by Creative.
The ending of this Smackdown was fitting as I liked that we finally got to see The Shield get overpowered, yet Big Show, Randy Orton, and Sheamus still showed dysfunction.
Clean Finish(Final Thoughts)
Earlier this week, I was shocked to find out about William Moody’s, a.k.a. Paul Bearer, death. It was a shame considering I had just read an article on WWE.com that showed him having lost a considerable amount of weight. Nevertheless, I praise WWE for their in memorium tributes on Main Event and Smackdown, and I offer my condolonces as well. There will never be another manager that gave their superstar’s increased mystique and aura like William Moody did.
Match of the Week
Photos and Videos Courtesy of WWE.com
News Articles/Reports Courtesy of Wrestlezone.com
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