Brand-O’s “Live” POV: WWE Raw 2/25/13

Monday night the $75 I spent to go to Raw was justified.  I knew going into Monday night that we would be seeing a good match between John Cena and CM Punk, but nobody could expect the match we got.  The arena was legit sold out.  The WWE said the attendance in the arena was 17,131 people.  I don’t know if that number is 100% accurate, but it seemed like it could have been.  I have never seen the American Airlines Center that packed for a WWE show, and I have been to almost 10 there.

The show started off with the “fight” between Vince McMahon and Paul Heyman.  If you saw the Wrestlemania XXX press conference then you know that Vince does not need the help of crutches.  Yes, he did have hip surgery, but it wasn’t as significant as the storyline says.  Brock Lesnar was advertised locally for the night, so we were all waiting in anticipation for his presence.  However, Triple H was not advertised so his return was a big deal for the live crowd.  The brawl between Lesnar and Triple H was very intense.  To top it all off I have to applaud the WWE for not stopping the brawl to stop the blood.  We never see blood in the WWE due to the PG rating, so having it here made this opening segment feel even more special.

Ryback d. Dolph Ziggler

This was an average TV match, and probably about as good as you are going to get in a Ryback match without him being in a tag match or some stipulation match.  Ryback had been on a losing streak in the past month, so it wasn’t a surprise to see him pick up the win here.  Sadly to say, Dolph Ziggler was his victim on Raw.  I don’t when Dolph is going to cash in his MITB (Wrestlemania is my guess), but when he does people are going to have a hard time taking him seriously as World Champion if he keeps being displayed as a loser week in and week out.

Match Rating: **1/4

In a weird situation for the live crowd CM Punk came out for a promo, and after he made his way to the ring he ran back up the ramp and they did his entrance again.  I don’t know what the point of that was since he made his first entrance right before the commercial for the TV audience.  I didn’t see any screw ups.  The Punk promo was excellent just as we are accustomed to.  He threw many hints in his speech about the upcoming feud with The Undertaker.  I don’t mind the match at Wrestlemania, but I do fear for CM Punk’s heat if he loses his fourth big match in a row.  I hope he gets involved in a good, winning program over the summer months.

Donald Trump is entering the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame.  He has been an influential part of WWE over the years, so I don’t have an issue with him going in.

Mark Henry d. The Great Khali

I said last week I hope this match wouldn’t take place at Wrestlemania, so I was pleased to see it happen here.  It was just as you would expect from a Khali match.  If Mark Henry is going to have a match at Mania this year they need to get the ball rolling with whatever feud he is going to be involved in.

Match Rating: Squash

Up next we had MizTV with Jack Swagger, Zeb Colter, Ricardo Rodriguez and Alberto del Rio.  I thought this was a very good kickstart to the Rio/Swagger feud.  Everyone involved in this segment played their part well, but I have to give Zeb Colter the A+.  He is an absolutely amazing speaker.  Without him I don’t believe I could ever get into this story, but he adds so much with his speaking skills.  Maybe this won’t be a one off thing for him and we see him stick around long after this is completed.  I thought it was smart to hold off on a physical confrontation for now.  There are still plenty weeks left for that to happen.

Jack Swagger knocked out The Miz after this segment concluded to set up a match between the two later on.

Randy Orton d. Antonio Cesaro

Ever wonder why the championships in the WWE do not mean much?  This match was a good example of why they don’t.  Antonio Cesaro should be being built up as a dominate United States Champion that has people falling before him.  Instead, he is losing matches on Raw in less than 5 minuets.  This should not be happening, especially on a weekly bases. Last week it was The Miz.  This week it was Randy Orton.  The match was okay for what it was, but it just pisses me off the way WWE books their champions.

Match Rating: *

Backstage Kane and Daniel Bryan were arguing as usual.  Kane said he could beat Prime Time Players with one hand tied behind is back and Bryan said he could beat them blindfolded.  Anybody with a brain knew where that was going.

Sheamus hosted his own Oscars party once again downing Wade Barrett’s role in “Dead Man Down”.  Sheamus is an ass kicker, but they feel the need to put him in comedy segments.  It just doesn’t work for him.  If they are building towards a Barrett/Sheamus match at Mania then let them just fight until then.  Sheamus’ face run is getting tiresome in my opinion.

R-Truth d. Cody Rhodes

This was another extremely short match.  Cody Rhodes has just been floating around like a duck with his head cut off since he lost the Intercontinental Championship last year.  He is an excellent talent, but he just never seems to go anywhere.  Damien Sandow was on commentary until the match was over when he then attacked R-Truth.  Look for a match between them in the next few weeks.

Match Rating: *

Team Hell No d. The Prime Time Players

This was mainly a comedy match.  Nothing of real note happened here.  The best thing about it was Daniel Bryan and his funny moments like attacking the ref and falling over the top rope.  I hope after Mania D-Bry gets back in serious mode and gets up in a higher profile story.

Match Rating: 1/2*

The Shield came to the ring next to address the WWE.  They talked about how they “solved” the problem known as John Cena.  I guess they didn’t know about John’s upcoming match.  They questioned if anybody in the WWE could take them out.  This led to Sheamus coming out and challenging them to a fight.  While Ambrose and Reigns made their way to the stage Randy Orton gave Rollins the RKO.  This looks like it could be building to another 6 man tag at Mania.  My only question is about Sheamus.  Is he feuding with The Shield or Wade Barrett?

Jack Swagger d. The Miz

As if there was any doubt on the winner of this match.  It was your basic match between the two.  Jack Swagger worked over Miz’s ankle the entire match so he could get the win with the Patriot Lock.  Am I surprised there wasn’t any ramifications on Jack Swagger because of his arrest?  Not really.  I think the whole Glen Beck situation saved him.

Match Rating: **

John Cena d. CM Punk

About once or twice a decade do we get a Wrestlemania main event caliber match on Raw.  In the 2000s we had HHH/HBK in 2003 and Cena/HBK in 2007.  At the end of this decade I think we will all look back on this classic match as not only MOTY for 2013, but Raw match of the decade.  I know we still have several months left in 2013 and several years left in this decade, but this was just about as good of a match that you are going to get in the WWE today.  The live crowd was eating up everything that these two superstars did.  This may be my favorite Cena performance to date.  He didn’t hold anything back here.  As far as the banned “piledriver” move, I think as long as you have two gifted performers that know what they are doing it is okay to bust in out once in a very blue moon.  John, Punk thank you for giving us all a match to remember forever.

Match Rating: *****

Final Raw Rating: 7/10

The only three parts of this show that I will remember going into next week were the opening brawl, MizTV and the main event.  Everything else was just filler like normal.  It was a blast being at this show live as it always is.  I am very blessed to have been in the live crowd for three of the best matches in WWE history.  I am talking about WM25 Taker/HBK, WM28 HHH/Taker and the Cena/Punk match the other night.  I don’t think I have ever been a part of a more fired up group of people than the fans at the American Airlines Center Monday night during the main event.  Dallas, we rocked!

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