Raw went a bit old school on Monday night when it hosted both the John Cena Rap and The Rock Concert. It was a sell out crowd in Cleveland, and it really did it feel like it. The WWE crowds these past few weeks have actually been pretty marvelous, and have really added to the buildup to WrestleMania.
And speaking of the buildup to WrestleMania, this week did another good job of hyping it up. It contained some solid action, nostalgic moments and an excellent pipe bomb to cap off a very enjoyable show.
John Cena's Rap was a good way to start off the show and was also fairly enjoyable, albeit a tad short. Cena was in a serious mood this week (thankfully) and although I'd still give The Rock Concert the edge, Cena did a better job of hyping up the actual match.
Sheamus continues his impressive run after defeating Dolph Ziggler in the opening match of the night. There was one incident in the last few minutes of the match that looked a bit off (was Sheamus meant to end it with that Celtic Cross?), but overall it was an enjoyable bout. If Sheamus can have that good a match against Ziggler, then I'm really looking forward to seeing how he does against Bryan, because we all know that Bryan is the best in the WWE for making people look like real superstars.
Also, Bryan's sky box interview during the match was a nice touch, as it brought a certain seriousness to their match and also made Bryan look intimidated by the Great White. I know they did the same thing for the Barrett/Orton feud not too long ago, but it was still good to see them to move away from the special guest commentator bit.
On a side note, Ziggler hasn't been in the best of form recently (in terms of how many matches he's lost), but he's still hanging in there as a guy who belongs at the top. Hopefully he finds a good slot on the WrestleMania card and doesn't end up in another multi-person tag match like last year.
Although it was a handicap match, it was still good to see Mark Henry look so dominant. It looks like they've finally gone back to his monstrous character, which is a real relief considering he was in a real downward spiral.
It was great to see Brodus Clay return to action, and arguably got the biggest reaction of the night. In saying that though, I wish they'd give him more time in the ring. Squash matches are all well and good but why not make them last another two minutes at least? These quick matches just come off as being really anti-climatic.
The confrontation between Undertaker and Shawn Michaels was another highlight of the night. Having these two and Triple H in the same storyline is just a joy to watch, and this weeks promo was another fine example as to why they can make any storyline interesting with just a war of words.
What I like about this storyline especially is how we still don't really know what Michaels will do at WrestleMania. Having him call it straight down the middle is the obvious choice, but could we see a surprise Sweet Chin Music to either Triple H or Undertaker? You never know.
The feud between Jericho and Punk was turned up another notch when Jericho dropped his very own pipe bomb on CM Punk. This was a really shocking segment and one I absolutely loved. I was afraid that this feud would just be a little rivalry of who's the 'Best in the World', but after that Jericho promo this feud has been turned up on its head.
Punk has been so sarcastic over the past few months with his smirks, rolled eyed expressions and total no selling of his opponents promos, so it was really good to see something that has really gotten to him.
With WrestleMania just a couple of weeks away I don't know if they'll be able to push this angle to its full potential, but I still expect it to be very good television from now until WrestleMania.
Lastly we had The Rock Concert. Rocky seemed a lot more comfortable this week and was pretty flawless when singing on guitar. Not only was he really funny, but he brought off that certain charm that only The Rock can. Cena may have built up their match better, but it was The Rock that got one up on Cena this week. Everything from Cena's lady parts to his Mom was just great to watch.
So, while Smackdown has been on a bumpy road to WrestleMania, Raw has been cruising along very nicely. The three main feuds on the show have all been great to watch, and even the little parts involving the likes of John Laurinaitis and some of the Smackdown stars has made Raw that much more enjoyable. Let's hope the next two Raw's are just as good.
- I know Dolph Ziggler sells every move very well, but man, the way he took that Brogue Kick was a thing of beauty.
- Let's hope someone tells Taker that WrestleMania is on April 1st and not April 21st, we don't want him arriving to an empty Sun Life Stadium a few weeks after WrestleMania.
- Still no idea what Miz is going to do for WrestleMania. If he ends up joining Team Johnny after all of this it will be fairly anti-climatic.
- For those of you that don't know, a similar storyline has been done before when CM Punk feuded with Raven.
- The Rock Concert would have been that much better if he wore that sleeveless leather jacket and those sunglasses.
- 2003: Cleveland sucks - 2012: Cleveland rocks. Oh, how times have changed.