Raw opens with a Paul Bearer tribute video. Undertaker comes out to pay tribute to an urn in the ring. CM Punk interrupts and extends his condolences to the Undertaker on his loss…at WrestleMania. He says Bearer will always know Taker as being perfect with a 20-0 record, but the new record will be 20-1. Punk says he will beat the streak and then leaves.
^I liked the opening. Punk kept the Bearer involvement to a minimum, but it gave him just the right amount of heat from the audience. The build for this match will be simple as had been effective so far.
Kane apparently tried to attack CM Punk during the commercial and is shown causing chaos in the locker room when he tosses Alex Riley while looking for Punk.
^Kane was the storyline son of Paul Bearer. Kane and Bearer were actually very close in real life(according to Paul in a radio interview that I recently listened to). I’m not opposed to Bearer’s character being used this way, and that’s mostly because I would expect it from WWE. Paul Bearer was a character than can live on in storyline. William Moody is gone from this earth. I treat it as two different things.
Big Show goes one on one with Seth Rollins. The match quickly turns into a three on one brawl and the Shield gets the upper hand. They beat down Show and land a triple powerbomb before they stand over him.
^I was almost expecting Sheamus and Orton to make the save here, but I guess it makes more sense for them not to since Show has remained against them. I was also excited for Seth Rollins to wrestle a match, and instead we got yet another brawl from the Aces and Eig…I mean the Shield. No, I don’t consider them overly similar factions, but the lack of wrestling matches is very comparable.
Vickie is shown talking to Brad Maddox when CM Punk interrupts. Vickie books Punk in a no DQ match with Kane tonight.
^This is where I like Vickie being both heel and face. She’s good at it! I’ve honestly warmed up to her character this time around with her position of power, and I never pictured myself saying such a thing.
^Great wrestling! Not the best encounter these two have had, but definitely some excellent technical ability showcased here. I wish these guys could have a thirty minute match at some point, but that’s very wishful thinking.
Fandango is supposed to go one on one with Tensai. After a lot of talking, Fandango refuses to fight because of what Tensai said to him.
^Are we supposed to care about this guy? I don’t, and I probably never will unless he gets a serious repackage. The entertainment part of WWE can be better than another dancing fool. Try for originality, WWE.
Team Rhodes Scholars take on the New Age Outlaws. Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman interrupt the match and Lesnar takes out both Outlaws. Heyman says Lesnar will face Triple H at WrestleMania under one stipulation, but Triple H doesn’t get to know the stipulation until he signs the contract.
^So the Outlaws were only on TV to be friends of Triple H and get beat up by his WM29 opponent? I’ll take it. What will the stipulation be? Probably something ridiculous that H will agree to and then he’ll absolutely have to beat Lesnar this time around. Good segment.
Mark Henry defeats Kofi Kingston in a short match.
^Henry’s dominant. We got the message last week, and the week before, and maybe even the week before. It’s too bad Kofi and Truth aren’t teaming together again and at least doing something relevant.
Cody Rhodes is shown talking to Kaitlyn. Damien Sandow comes into the picture and brings the Bella Twins with him. They are back because the divas division needs them. Vickie comes up and books Team Rhodes Scholars against Randy Orton and Sheamus.
^I missed the Bellas. I never thought I would say that, but I guess it’s just the overall longing for legit divas wrestling. So now Team Rhodes Scholars has to wrestle a second match? It’s almost like this show is scripted or something.
Ryback squashes Heath Slater as Mark Henry watches on from the stage. Drew McIntyre attempts to attack Ryback but gets shell shocked. Henry comes in the ring and slams McIntyre. Ryback shell shocks him again, and then Henry slams him again as they try to show one another up.
^The battle of the two monsters. Apparently their match has been booked for Smackdown. I see this not happening for some reason, and I expect that the big finale for them will take place at WrestleMania. I’m optimistic for what they might do in the ring.
Alberto Del Rio defeats Antonio Cesaro with the cross armbreaker.
^Not a very long match, but definitely some good chemistry with these two. Cesaro could easily be feuding in the main event scene by the end of the year, but it all depends on how booking lines up. I also expected a guy like Cody Rhodes(who had a SENSATIONAL 2011) to be in the World Title picture by now, but look where it’s at for him.
Josh Mathews tries to interview Kane. Kane walks away without saying anything.
^Kane’s emotional. His storyline father died. Like I said before, the character lives on in storyline. No one is mocking William Moody or his life, and that’s why I’m okay with this.
A Rock and John Cena video package is shown to add to the WM29 hype(probably because Rock isn’t in the building, AGAIN).
^Punk and Taker is easily going to be the more exciting match on the card because of the talent involved, but it could also be the more hyped match when you consider how little they’ve done for this Rock/Cena rematch. I’m okay with it, but it feels like a whole lot of value has been ripped away from the WWE Championship. Why WWE, why?
Randy Orton and Sheamus take on Team Rhodes Scholars. Sheamus pins Sandow after a brogue kick. We are shown afterwards that the Shield attacked Orton and Sheamus during the commercial.
^And Team Rhodes Scholars falls. Will either one of these talented individuals be booked to do something important this year? It’s doubtful, but I’ll keep asking for it. Orton and Sheamus are on the same page, but I could see Orton taking a heel turn down the road that leads to the previously discussed rivalry against Sheamus.
Chris Jericho has the Miz on the highlight reel. Wade Barrett comes down and they all bicker. Brad Maddox comes out and books the winner of Miz/Jericho tonight against Wade Barrett next week for the IC Title.
^Three good talkers here but for some reason the chemistry didn’t seem to be there, and Brad Maddox only slightly added to the entertainment. At least now we get two good wrestlers going at it!
Jericho and Miz end in a disqualification when Barrett gets involved. They each hit their finisher on Barrett to end the segment.
^Good action and chemistry between Miz and Jericho, but a disappointing end. I hope Barrett gets booked in a triple threat now against the duo next week. Could we be that lucky?
Zeb Colter insults Sin Cara and criticizes what he stands for. Swagger defeats Sin Cara in a short match using the patriot act/ankle lock. Swagger won’t release the hold after the match until Del Rio makes the save.
^So Sin Cara defeats Antonio Cesaro on Main Event, and now he jobs to the number one contender. The booking of the masked one seems highly odd. Colter got good heat as usual, and the match was too short to really say a lot about it. Good segment to make the number one contender look strong.
A Halle Berry/Kane comedy segment is shown to promote The Call. Funny stuff. Anyone seen that guy and his coffee mug lately?
Kane defeats CM Punk in a no DQ match after a Taker gong sound distracts Punk long enough for Kane to chokeslam him for the victory. Punk attacks Kane after the match and takes the urn that Kane brought to ringside when Undertaker comes down to the ring.
^Great way to end the night, and great way to add fuel to the fire for WM. Kane and Punk worked a solid brawl, and it was definitely a memorable ending to Raw. Nice to see the brothers pay tribute to Bearer, and nice of WWE to use him in the storyline without saying his name much and without making any sort of mockery out of him. Good work all around.
Mostly short matches, but good chemistry in nearly all of them besides the squashes. The main event is what puts the show over the top for me as being just a hair better than average. I’ll be back with the Smackdown analysis on Friday. Until next time, you’ve been ThunderStruck!
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