This week’s Shoot starts with a recent Wrestlezone report stating, former World Wresting Entertainment superstar, Chris Masters, saved his mother from an attacker who attempted to burn her house down.

I am not going to go in-depth because the details are scarce, but I could not start this week’s Shoot any other way. First of all, I would just like to say that this is an amazing thing because as a son myself, I would do all things possible to save not just my mother, but all my loved ones from harm.

Congratulations to Chris for getting there in time and avoiding the loss of his mother as well as stopping the attacker, whom was sent to jail.

Too often professional wrestlers post-careers are looked at in only a negative light, such as Chris Benoit and others. While those should by no means be disregarded or forgotten, you still have to take a second to look at some of the good that wrestlers do after they hang their boots up, like the example of Chris saving his mother. 


John Cena started off the show doing his usual shtick, but it worked as he was able to get the Pittsburgh crowd invested in the night’s proceedings. It also helped that he came out wearing the black and gold. The Prime Time Player’s interruption of Cena and the Pancake Patterson promo did not get over at all with the sold out “Steel City” crowd and I myself was confused as well.

John Cena quickly defeating Darren Young was a good little  match to open the show. WWE putting  Cena in action to start the show looked to me as them making up for John Cena and Dwayne’s absences last week.

I loved the announcement of Ryback vs. Mark Henry at WrestleMania after Ryback’s squash match with David Otunga. This is a great decision because nobody wanted to see another 6-Man Tag Shield match involving Ryback.

All of Fandango’s theatricality for nothing. I loved the, “You Can’t Wrestle Chant,” but it should have been, “You Won’t Wrestle!”

It was great to finally hear The Undertaker speak after an entire year. I particularly liked when he said that he was not only going to hurt CM Punk, but he was going to hurt him bad. CM Punk’s interruption of Taker’s promo by doing Paul Bearer’s voice on the Titantron was another beautifully personal thing for Punk’s character to do. I also loved how he disrespectfully treated the urn as if it were a ball and I could not believe he actually cussed when he dropped it.

This segment was perfect for Punk’s character. He not only continued to play up his God angle, which I initially disliked, but him disrespecting Paul Bearer’s spirit also ties in with the theme of hypocritical respect that has been part of his character for a number of months, whether Creative scripted it like  that purposefully or not, that was how I viewed it.

Kane being fired up during Team Hell No’s tag team match with Primo and Epico was good booking because it made sense following CM Punk’s disrespectful segment. I liked that Team Hell No continued their winning steak, despite AJ Lee’s skipping distraction.

The Chris Jericho and Fandango segment backstage could show that WWE does not yet intend to scrap Fandango’s character altogether as originally intended.

Whether you like Alberto Del Rio or not, the guy puts on good matches almost every time he steps in-between the ropes. This match was no exception as Del Rio and Cody Rhodes really put on a gem of a match for the Pittsburgh crowd. The top rope face plant  spot could have been ugly for Rhodes, who seems to possibly have an issue with falling. Remember how his flopping of Kane’s backdrop put him out of action with a shoulder injury?

I like that Del Rio’s knee is in a brace leading up to WrestleMania as it gives his opponent, Jack Swagger, an edge for the World Title Match. Also, The physical altercation between Swagger and Del Rio was needed as it was the next logical step in this rivalry, particularly I liked the teasing of a Zeb Colter beat down. Here’s hoping that we actually see that beat down at WrestleMania as a simple right hand to the face will suffice, although I think we might have to start getting used to Zeb even after WrestleMania. P.S. Ricardo’s high shrieks kind of oversold Jack “breaking” his ankle.

After Orton and Sheamus once again defeat two members of 3MB, The Shield comes out, which causes Big Show to even the odds inside the ring. This was necessary as it helped situate his name back into the 6-Man Tag at WrestleMania after Ryback was pulled out of the match by Vickie.

Ziggler vs. Kofi reminded us how well these two guys work together, dating back to their 2010 and 2011 rivalries over the United States and Intercontinental Championships. Dolph gets the win to start his first win streak in quite a while. After the match, the Tag Title Match is officially announced between Team Hell No and Dolph Ziggler/Big E. Langston.

I praise the performances of Chris Jericho and The Miz in the Intercontinental Title Triple Threat Match. The best spot of this match was obviously the  superplex/powerbomb involving all three competitors. Wade Barrett getting the win was the right thing as The Miz is not ready for another title run anytime soon, Chris Jericho does not need to win the title for a tenth time, and Barrett’s run is just starting. Overall, a very entertaining match-up from start to finish.

The contract signing was definitely the right way to go as far as ending this Raw. I liked how Paul Heyman kept baiting Triple H and the fans of possible gimmick stipulations, most of which were shots at Triple H, only to get a beat down from the “King of Kings,” exposing why Heyman always ties up that hair in the back. Brock comes out after Triple H signs the contract and after a brief standoff, we were finally let in on the stipulations. After a number of stipulations were reportedly in consideration, including Hell in a Cell and an MMA style fight, Creative ultimately decided on No Holds Barred with Triple H’s career on the line. This was definitely the right way to go as fans just want to see these two beat the holy hell out of each other on the “Grandest Stage of Them All.” While the addition of the career stipulation might suggest Triple H is a lock to win, do not be so hasty as you never know if Triple H will consider fully accepting his backstage role by hanging up his boots for good.

I would have liked to see Bruno Sammartino make some sort of appearance with him recently signing a  WWE deal, getting inducted into Hall of Fame, and being from Pittsburgh, but that is okay as he did not have to show up, but it would have been cool nonetheless. This Raw was not as good as I would have hoped, but at the very least, it helped solidify most of the WrestleMania Undercard as well as clued us in on the Brock vs. Triple H stipulations.

Main Event

R-Truth vs. Wade Barrett, good competitive match and I am glad to see Creative is expanding Wade’s opponents after only facing Kofi Kingston or Randy Orton for quite a while. R-Truth’s grapevine/ crucifix pinning combination was the best spot in the match. The post-match altercation between Barrett and The Miz sets up a possible IC Title match at WrestleMania, despite the card filling up quickly. I will say that the altercations with The Miz while he is on commentary are getting repetitive.

We then get an interview where Sheamus basically tells Matt Striker that there is no way Big Show will be a part of his and Randy’s team at WrestleMania. Do not let him fool you WWE fans, Big Show WILL be officially on the team within the next few weeks.

I have to say that I correctly called Divas matches starting to take place on Main Event. While it is clear that these current Divas singles/tag matches are not well-executed technically, they are the longest/most enjoyable Divas matches on WWE television in quite some time. Here’s hoping that WWE gets the Divas division back to their former glory, although they have a long way to go.

It was good to see two up-and-coming teams, The Usos and PTP, square off in good old-fashioned tag team action to close out Main Event. The Usos full-nelson slam was the first one I have seen in WWE since Bubba/Bully Ray. Overall, the match was well-booked, but I wish PTP would have won, considering they get more television time and have not won a match in a while.


“Miz TV” opens the show with Randy Orton and Sheamus as the guests. After Big Show came out, I liked how we got some funny back and forth between all four superstars. Booker T making a 6-Man tag main event to see if the team will work makes sense and Creative continues to make Booker T look like one of the best Smackdown General Managers ever. Also, welcome back JBL as I definitely missed your commentary over the past few weeks.

I loved the Ryback and Mark Henry collision after Henry’s quick squash match against Ryder. The face off was tense and the collision came off well on television. Although another short segment, this continues to be one of the most well-booked feuds heading into WrestleMania.

We then get a Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston rematch from Raw. While the match was similar to the one from Monday Night Raw, including Dolph getting the win, AJ on commentary was a good way to keep the rematch fresh and different. I did like the finish to this match better than the one from Raw, as I liked the Fame-Ass-er on the outside to Kofi, which led to Ziggler hitting the Zig Zag for the win inside the ring. I would have liked to have seen Team Hell No save Kofi from another Big E. Langston post-match beat down, but something like that could be coming soon enough, most likely on next week’s Raw. P.S. Could Dolph’s briefcase be any more dented?

Soon after this, we get another rematch, but this would be Chris Jericho vs. Jack Swagger from last week’s Smackdown. This match was very competitive and ended with Fandango costing Jericho the match. It was nice to see Fandango get physical for the first time on WWE television and I liked his top-rope leg drop. Looks like we better get used to Fandango, and Jericho appears to have a possible WrestleMania opponent after all.

I am glad that the Tensai/Clay vs. Team Rhodes Scholars ended in a No Contest as I would rather see a nonsensical Divas catfight, then see Team Rhodes Scholars job to another team, especially Tensai and Clay.

I just want to say that I love how Creative booked the entire Miz, Cesaro, and Barrett setup as it shows The Miz’s old title feud with Cesaro and the new title feud he will pursue in Wade Barrett. The match itself was not unlike what we have seen between Miz and Cesaro. However, with this loss, who will be the next opponent for Cesaro and his U.S. Title?

The Main Event was Big Show, Sheamus, and Randy Orton vs. 3MB. I liked how Show and Sheamus stole each others moves as it was classic and funny. Then, just as the team looked to be on the same page, Sheamus stole the win from the Big Show. Great booking here and after the match with the pushing and shoving between Show, Sheamus, and Orton while The Shield were on their way down to the ring. As stated earlier, I expect that Show will be “officially” added to the 6-Man Tag sometime soon.

Clean Finish(Final Thoughts)

Congratulations to Booker T for his Hall of Fame induction. Undoubtedly, Harlem Heat will go down as one of the greatest tag teams ever and Booker T himself will go down as one of the greatest characters and workers this industry has ever seen. I am glad that he has hung up his boots and assumed the role of Smackdown General Manager, which I personally feel he is doing a pretty good job as. P.S. How funny is it that they used his infamous, “We Comin For You Promo.”  (I apologize for the quality, but I wanted the real sound byte)

Match of the Week

Alberto Del Rio vs. Cody Rhodes(Raw)

Question of the Week

Will Chris Jericho face Fandango at WrestleMania?


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Ricki Hostutler