The report suggests that it could be cold April weather along with possible evening showers for the big show. This is what happens when you think of only money via stadium capacity and do not take into account the location.
I am hoping that the weather report changes, as these reports often do, but this is yet another example of Vince McMahon only thinking of the cash flow and not questioning if decisions like this will make the product suffer or not.
Maybe I am reaching as far as my questioning of this year’s WrestleMania location because I am sure everything will go off without a hitch, but I am just saying that sometimes World Wrestling Entertainment has me shaking my head in confusion over their money-first decisions.
The opening segment involving CM Punk and The Undertaker was another great addition to a well-booked “Streak” rivalry. I must say that I did not expect The Undertaker to get physical with CM Punk, but I am glad he did as he looks to be in fighting shape for April 7. How funny was it when Paul Heyman scooped up the urn? He looked like he was running for the game winning touchdown as he scooted up the ramp. In all seriousness, I loved this segment and nobody can bring the intensity that The Undertaker displays when he signals for his foe to “Rest in Peace.”
Chris Jericho attacking Fandango made sense due to the Friday Night Smackdown attack and was a good segway into Jericho’s match with Ziggler.
Any time Jericho and Ziggler get in the ring together, they put on one heck of a show. Personally, I was hoping to see a Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler match for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania, but that obviously did not happen. Even so, these two put on another gem of a match on Monday Night Raw with Jericho getting Dolph to tap out to the Walls of Jericho.
After Big E. laid out Jericho, Fandango once again came out to hit Y2J with a leg-drop from the top rope. Now I do not know if anybody else heard or noticed it, but with my television blasting, I heard Jericho instructing Fandango on what to do with the crowd. He told him, “Don’t say a word,” to the crowd, which Fandango did not listen. He also told him to, “Look at me,” after he was done with his promo, which was followed.(Look for it in the Match of the Week video if you did not notice it the first time). If you consistently watch wrestling matches, every once in a while you will spot the superstars talking to one another, instructing each other on what to do. However, with Jericho being a decorated veteran, I was astounded to blatantly hear him not only live, but also whenever they replayed the attack. That just shows that Fandango might not be ready to debut at all, let alone in front of 70,000 plus at WrestleMania, especially with his gimmick.
As I have stated in previous posts, I am not a fan of the Del Rio vs. Swagger World Title feud. However, they have booked it better in recent weeks, especially on this week’s Raw. It was a good idea to have Swagger throw Ricardo into the steel steps, causing Del Rio to attack Swagger on the outside. I still do not get how it is a count out, since Jack attacked Ricardo and then got in fisticuffs with Del Rio on the outside, but Cesaro needed a cheap win to stop his losing streak.
I wish that Team Hell No would be booked to face another team besides the Prime Time Players, such as the Usos, but the two teams put on another decent tag match against each other. I also liked that Creative had Dolph, Big. E, and AJ watching the action from the ramp, although them using this in multiple storylines shows that they could be running out of ideas as we get closer to the big show.
Triple H’s promo was similar to his previous solo ones over the past few weeks, they were short and to the point. Even better than his promo was his interaction with Wade Barrett. I loved “The Game” kicking the disrespectful Barrett in the nuts, showing him that the boys in the back should still respect the “King of Kings.”
The Miz defeating Wade Barrett after this was slightly surprising as it rang of The Miz’s recent title feud with Cesaro. I hope that Creative does not book this rivalry so similarly to the previous one over the United States Championship.
The 6-Man Tag Match was a bit of a throwaway, despite The Shield being involved. I did like that we finally got to see Big Show, Randy Orton, and Sheamus on the same page not only earlier in the night when The Shield attacked Sheamus backstage, but also after the triple power bomb of The Great Khali. This shows that maybe we should not be so hasty in marking The Shield for a win at WrestleMania.
The Ryback vs. 3MB 3-on-1 handicap match was longer than I thought it would be, but the finish was perfect. I always love when Ryback stacks two superstars together for a joint Shell Shock, obviously practicing for lifting Mark Henry at WrestleMania. I also loved Ryback yelling, “Feed Me Mark Henry,” into the camera as it was a very 90s thing to do.
AJ Lee defeating Kaitlyn by count out had a weird setup for the match as far as the out of nowhere storyline as described by Michael Cole, but at the very least, it could setup an interesting Divas title feud after WrestleMania.
The Q + A segment between Dwayne and John Cena had everything you could expect from one of their promos. Dwayne told an odd story of when he was young and Cena spewed some inspirational rhetoric, including an unfair comparison to Donovan McNabb, whom I doubt wakes up every morning with regret, but that is neither here nor there. I did like the setup with the Hall of Famers and by the end of the segment, the feud actually got interesting with Cena finally admitting to his attempted Peoples Elbow from a year ago. Just like the Taker and Punk feud, this rivalry surprised me with both competitors getting physical on Raw, but they were both pleasant surprises.
I will say that WWE Main Event wastes no time giving the audience in-ring action and this show was no different as Kane faced off against Antonio Cesaro with the good addition of Daniel Bryan on commentary. Cesaro’s yodeling before and during the match was different, yet still got heat from the crowd, including several, “USA!” chants. Cesaro selling Kane’s throat uppercut coming off the top rope was definitely my favorite spot in the match. I also liked Daniel Bryan intercepting AJ Lee during her distraction, en route to a Kane victory.
During this one hour show, we got not one, but two more WrestleMania matches announced. We get The Miz vs. Wade Barrett for the Intercontinental Championship as well as an 8-Person Mixed Tag Match. These are the most matches on a single WrestleMania card since WrestleMania 26.
We also got the news of Tensai and Clay officially naming themselves, “Tons of Funk.” I’ll let you judge that one.
The Bella Twins vs. The Funkadactyls was a good little Divas tag match, but had an ugly/slightly botched finish to close the in-ring action on the show.
This Friday Night started with WWE Champion Dwayne engaging the WWE Universe once again with story time with the Rock for some cheap pops and his usual shtick. Even though I already knew Johnny “Funkman” Laurinaitis was returning on Smackdown, it was nice to see him back as for some reason I have missed him over the past few months. His back and forth with Dwayne had me cracking up and his presence made sense because of his history with John Cena. Ending the opening segment with The People’s Elbow to Johnny was perfectly booked and I hope we did not see the last of “The Funkman” as he could fit in as an advisor to Vickie Guerrero, similar to what Teddy Long is doing for Booker T.
The first match of the show featured Chris Jericho defeating Wade Barrett. The contest was not the best, but it did the job storyline wise with Miz on commentary, which led to Barrett being distracted and getting hit with the Codebreaker. Jericho’s post-match promo was funny, including his nod to Bohemian Rhapsody, which actually makes perfect sense if you look at the lyrics to the song. The stare down with Fandango was good, although I am questioning this feud.
I really liked Paul Heyman’s interview with Josh Matthews as he continues to show why he is one of the best wrestling personalities there is, whether you like him or not.
The weight lifting challenge between Mark Henry and Ryback was unique and fun to watch. I wonder if them breaking that World Record was actually legit? Nevertheless, Mark Henry choking Ryback with the bench bar was great and still adhered to the no-contact rule made by Booker T.
After this, we get a mixed tag team match featuring Daniel Bryan teaming with Divas Champion, Kaitlyn to face Dolph and AJ. This was a great booking decision considering the Tag Title Feud as well as the match between AJ and Kaitlyn from Raw. I would also like to add that this is the most Divas matches I have seen in quite some time as far as the past few weeks are concerned. Kaitlyn getting the win over AJ with the Spear was a good way to end this contest and could setup a future rubber match for the Divas title.
The Shield’s promos continue to be innovative and straight up good, while I found the Big Show, Sheamus, and Orton backstage interview to be odd as everyone seemed like they did not know what to say.
The Great Khali vs. Jack Swagger match was better than the throwaway that I thought it would be, although nowhere near a gem. How great was it to see Zeb get hit with that crutch after the match by Ricardo? With one more week to go, I’m curious to see what they will do to end the build for this WrestleMania Main Event.
For the second straight week, a 6-Man Tag involving Big Show, Orton, and Sheamus ended Smackdown. However, this week it was against Antonio Cesaro and Team Rhodes Scholars. Finally someone other than 3MB was involved in a 6-Man Tag. I liked the hectic finish to the match, including Big Show knocking out Cesaro, but I really liked the brawl with The Shield in the crowd to end this show.
Clean Finish(Final Thoughts)
It appears that we will be getting an appearance from “The Terminator” during the Hall of Fame inductions as Bruno Sammartino has announced whom will be inducting him into the Hall of Fame. Obviously, I would love a fellow wrestler to do it, but it is not my choice and due to the friendship between the two, it does make sense. Needless to say, it shall be interesting to hear what Arnold says about his long-time friend.
The other thing I have to mention would be the recent news of Ric Flair’s son, Reid Flair’s, death at the Age of 24. I am around that age myself and while the details on this event are scarce, my condolences go out to the entire Flair family.
Other Articles/Columns to Check Out
Match of the Week
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News Articles/Reports Courtesty of Wrestlezone.com