We are now less than 5 weeks away from one of the mostÂ underwhelming Wrestlemanias of this century. Â Last week on Raw we had a ***** match in Punk/Cena. Â This week Punk, Randy Orton, Sheamus and The Big Show had a lot of shoes to fill. Â Could they get the job done?
The show opened with the surprise return of The Undertaker. Â Most people figured that he was returning on this show, but I never expected he would open it. Â Taker came out and displayed the Wrestlemania 29 logo on the titantron to confirm that he will be at the biggest show of the year in April.
Following aÂ previewÂ of the evening by Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler, CM Punk and Paul Heyman made their way to the ring. Â CM Punk basically announced that if he couldn’t go into Wrestlemania as WWE Champion, then he wanted to break the streak. Â This led to Randy Orton, The Big Show and Sheamus all coming out to challenge The Undertaker at Wrestlemania. Â In the end, VickieÂ Guerrero announced that the four superstars would compete in a Fatal 4 Way match with the winner facing The Undertaker at Mania. Â This was a pretty lazy way to set up The Undertaker’s match at Wrestlemania, but when you are gone for almost a full year and only have five weeks to build to a match there is really no other way to kickstart a feud.
Ryback d. Antonio CesaroÂ
Antonio Cesaro loses clean on Raw for the third week in a Row. Â This week he was fed to Ryback. Â The match was slow for the most part with Ryback getting much of theÂ offenseÂ in. Â I am pretty much over the Ryback character at this point. Â Unless they have some big plans for him I feel that they dropped the ball on him by rushing him into main event programs last year when he had no chance of winning. Â Other than champions losing clean almost every night on Raw, my other big pet peeve is the superstar’s entrances being cut from the show. Â The show is 3 hours. Â There is no reason why the superstars (especially the champions) do not get a full entrance on TV anymore.
Match Rating: *1/2
Mark Henry came out while Ryback was on his way to the backstage area. Â They had a short staredown. Â You can go ahead and pencil in Ryback vs Mark Henry for Wrestlemania folks.
Mark Henry d. Zack Ryder
This match was meant to put over theÂ dominanceÂ of Mark Henry. Â It only went a couple minutes with Ryder only getting about 5 seconds total offense in. Â I don’t think this is what Zack Ryder had in mind when he was bitching on Twitter for more airtime.
Match Rating: Squash
The Miz d. Dolph Ziggler
The Miz introduced “his mentor” Ric Flair before the match started. Â Like Ric would take the time to mentor someone like The Miz. Â This was the second best match of the show, and it still wasn’t very good. Â Dolph was once again made out to look like the loser of WWE while The Miz had to get a win back since he lost to Antonio Cesaro on Smackdown last week. Â I will give it to Miz, he has had his work boots on the past few weeks. Â He has been working better matches of late. Â Much like last year, Wrestlemania is only a few weeks away and Miz doesn’t currently have a match booked for the show. Â Neither does Ziggler, but I expect him to be placed in a match with Chris Jericho (whom returns next week on Raw).
Match Rating: **1/4
The Rock made his return after giving the new belt the week off. Â We can’t let that new belt get burnt out this fast! Â He and John Cena had a “Point, Counter-Point” faceoff in the ring. Â If you saw any of their in ring promos last year then you didn’t miss much here. Â It was pretty much on par with what we got last year. Â The next four weeks is going to be veryÂ repetitiveÂ if they don’t add some new element to this match. Â I don’t expect them to do that, so get prepared for a lot of “I am going to beat you, Â no I am going to beat you” promos in the next several weeks.
At this point we were supposed to have a Jack Swagger vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan match, but that we did not get. Â I wouldn’t assume thatÂ disappointedÂ many people. Â Sawgger took out Duggan, Slaughter and Dusty Rhodes with the 2×4. Â No sign at all of Alberto del Rio. Â It didn’t seem like the crowd was into this very much. Â I don’t know what more can be done to Jack Swagger’sÂ characterÂ to get people behind this story. Â I believe it is just a case of people not giving a damn about Swagger.
Alberto del Rio attacked Jack Swagger from behind in the backstage area. Â What a babyface you are Rio.
Team Hell No d. The Prime Time Players
Ted DiBiase was ringside for this match to scout the Prime Time Players. Â A very short, boring match this was. Â WWE needs to make their mind up on where they want to go with Kane and Daniel Bryan. Â The team was entertaining at first, but the act is growing old. Â Are they going to stay “friends”, or are they going to turn into enemies. Â It is not good to keep teasing the break up and then the next night act as if nothing is wrong. Â They got along during this show, so that means they will probably be arguing on Smackdown this week.
Match Rating: *
Brodus Clay & Tensia d. 3MB
Honkey Tonk Man was ringside for this matchÂ accompanyingÂ Clay and Tensai. Â Tensia picked up the victory for his team by quickly defeating Heath Slater. Â You would think that Tensai just won the WWE Championship with the way he celebrated this victory. Â After the match Honkey Tonk Man hit Slater in the head with the guitar.
Match Rating: Squash
Kofi Kingston wasÂ supposed to face Fandangoo, but since Justin Roberts couldn’t announce Fandangoo’s name right we didn’t get the match. Â The crowd didn’t seem to care that they missed seeing Fandangoo’sÂ debut. Â He was decent on the mic however. Â I will give him that.
Triple H was out at the top of the hour to address Brock Lesnar and their fight last week. Â That was an awesome brawl. Â Triple H was out in street clothes and his leather jacket. Â No office business on this evening. Â To nobody’s surprise, he challenged Brock Lesnar to a match at Wrestlemania 29. Â I would expect some sort of stipulation added on to this one. Â Hell In A Cell? Â Maybe, but I was thinking more along the lines of a Street Fight or I Quit Match. Â Brock Lesnar should be back next week to respond to the challenge.
The Shield then made their only appearance on the show in a pre recorded video. Â They talked about The Big Show, Sheamus and Randy Orton and how those three will never get a cheap shot in again. Â It looks like The Big Show is headed towards turn number 1000. Â The Shield vs Randy Orton, Sheamus and The Big Show in some specialty match at Wrestlemania sounds possible at this point.
Alberto del Rio d. Wade Barrett
Once again we had a champion lose cleanly on TV. Â At this point it is ridiculous. Â The match was okay for the short amount of time they got. Â Jack Swagger appeared new the stage but neverÂ interferedÂ . Â Also there was no Sheamus/Barrett interaction on this show. Â I guess they are moving away from that feud.
Match Rating: **
The New Age Outlaws d. Epico & Primo
The NAO looked very good here. Â I wouldn’t mind seeing them have a short run. Â They would bring a little star power to what’s left of the tag division. Â The match was short and it put the NAO over to keep the fans happy. Â There is a chance we will see the NAO wrestle Rhode’s Scholars next week on Raw. Â I would be fine with that.
Match Rating: 1/2*
In a funny moment, CM PunkÂ interpretedÂ the singing of Happy Birthday to Mae Young. Â I legit laughed out loud.
CM Punk d. The Big Show, Randy Orton and Sheamus.
This was the best match on the show for me, but I was still not a huge fan of it. Â When it comes to Triple Threat and Fatal 4 Way Matches, there is too much laying around. Â I was shocked when The Shield didn’t cost Randy Orton, Sheamus and The Big Show the match, so I guess we will see some confrontation between the six perhaps on Smackdown.
Match Rating: **3/4
After the match The Undertaker came out to have a staredown with his WrestlemaniaÂ opponent. Â I think it will be a very good match even with theÂ predictableÂ outcome.
Final Rating: 2/10
This show was a major step down from last week, but what can you honestly expect from a themed Raw? Â This was the wrong time of the year to have a show like this. Â WWE should save this type of event for the summer months when there is nothing going on. Â I just wasn’t feeling this show at all.
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See you all next week!