Hit: What is Important.
We started off Raw this week with Triple H coming out in style, wearing the freshest damn minty green tie I think I've ever seen. All jokes aside, I was weary of how the WWE would approach the lack of resolution in the Laurinaitis performance review from last week. I was almost sure Triple H would brush off Big Johnny's "firing", but thankfully they used their heads and explained that the extra week of lobbying afforded Mr. Laurinaitis a meeting with the Board of Directors. That meeting went well enough for the board to withhold there decision until Tuesday.
What was even better about this segment was how they handled the importance of the Undertaker's return. Instead of throwing the Laurinaitis story to the side, they used the importance of Triple H's position as COO to further push the significance of the Deadman's arrival and subsequent challenge to the Game.
Hit: HHH, Deathly Afraid
Last nights promo on why HHH would not be facing the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 28 was very reminiscent of his feud with Ric Flair from back in 2005. The Game finally returned after a few months on the shelf to team with Ric Flair in a match against Kurt Angle and Carlito. The two former Evolution members won the match, but the Cerebral Assassin shocked the WWE Universe by turning on his former friend and mentor. He brutally assaulted Flair throughout the arena with a sledgehammer and showed no mercy for his actions. Before I go on, let me state that I have no problem with them going back to the idea that someone HHH is facing is less than what they used to be. It fit in the context back in 2005, and it certainly fits now.
HHH's explanation for his actions then were to say that Flair was no longer the legend he once loved, that he was a shell of his former self. He said that the Nature Boy was long gone and likened Flair to Old Yeller, and said that he needed to be taken out behind the barn and put out of his misery. The Game said that because he loved Ric, he was the one that would have to do the deed. Fast forward to 2012, and the Game is calling the Undertaker a shell of his former self. But this time, he isn't willing to be the one to put the Undertaker out of his misery. Triple H is refusing to indulge the Undertaker. He says he is afraid of what he will have to do to take out the Undertaker. But I don't believe that is the case. HHH is refusing to face the Deadman because he is afraid of what kind of war would take place in Miami. The Game gave the Undertaker everything and more at Wrestlemania 27, and still couldn't beat him. Triple H walked out that night, but I think he knows a rematch will only lead to both men being unable to walk to the back.
And to a point that will most likely come up in the next few weeks: maybe Triple H knows he can't beat the Undertaker. It took quite a while last year (the week before Mania IMO) for the buildup for HHH/Taker II to actually live up to the hype surrounding it. With this storyline, I'm confident we are in for a hell of a ride down the road to Wrestelmania 28, and I can't wait to see how we get there!
Hit: One Year
This weeks Raw Review figures to be just a bit longer because of how much there is to say about what Triple H and the Undertaker did last night. The last point I have to make though is about the Deadman's video response to Triple H's refusal to grant him a rematch. We all know the man behind the character, Mark Calloway, took the year off to heal up and spend time with his family. But the Undertaker, well the Deadman did something completely different. It was apparent to me that for the last year, all the Undertaker has been thinking about is Triple H. Some may point to the fact that HHH lost at Wrestlemania, but he did to the Undertaker what no man has ever done. For years it has been his opponent asking for a match at the Wrestlemania. But now, it is the other way around. The Undertaker is back on pride alone, and that may just make him more dangerous then he has ever been. If Triple H doesn't' rethink his decision, he is in for a rude awakening in the coming weeks.
A bonus hit goes to the production of the video, or on a more narrow scale, the writing of the video. Having the Undertaker say that his victory at Wrestlemania 27 meant nothing was powerful and showed you how much he needs this rematch. And the repetition of the phrase "this is not over" was a great tool to get across there point. This is not over. In fact, we are really just beginning.
Hit: Love is Complicated
Depending on the kind of person you are, you may have sympathy for AJ. Some look at this poor girl who fell in love with a man who obviously doesn't care for her the same way that she does, and feel for her. However, others will vilify her for not realizing the game Daniel Bryan is playing. And that is why this is a hit. It is a true reflection of human relationships and how complex they really are. Bryan shows her just enough to keep her infatuated, but not enough for people other than AJ to take his feelings seriously. D-Bryan may be the most complex character in the WWE at the moment, and hopefully he is able to display that character on the Grandest Stage of them All.
Two bonus hits have to be given out here. First, to the guy in the crown next to the "We Hate Cena" guy, you are awesome. Telling Bryan to "take your girl and get out of here" among other things was priceless. I love when fans participate in this way. Secondly, the promo for the main event of Smackdown next week (which we will get to) called Daniel Bryan a relentless World Heavyweight Champion. I think that is a perfect word for him and does a good job of putting him over as a competitor as well.
Miss: Big Show...Change Your Clothes
I'm sorry Show, but I just cannot get behind the whole camo singlet thing. It looks weird. I know it fits with your hold "WMD" thing but it just makes you look silly. I'm fine with wanting to spice things up, but this just doesn't work for me.
Hit: Road To Wrestlemania Promotion
The WWE has always done a good job of taking advantage of great promotional opportunities and last night we saw another one. The Daytona 500 is, to my knowledge, the biggest race in Nascar. Having John Cena there to be the Honorary Starter is huge, and its a great thing for the WWE to use to even further drive home how important Cena is.
On the other side of the spectrum, they also do a good job of tying in there shows leading up to Wrestlemania. As I've said before, I love the idea that to get to the biggest dance of them all, you have to go through hell first. I'm not the biggest fan of Gimmick PPV's but having the Chamber as the last giant road block on the road to Wrestlemania is great. And how about that statistic from last night. Out of the 13 Elimination Chamber matches, the Champion has lost a total of SIX times. That is huge, and I see the trend continuing with at least one title changing hands in just a few weeks.
Hit: David Otunga: Attorney at Law, One Hell of a Snazzy Dresser
Otunga is awesome. Everything about him is great. The thermos, the bow tie, the sweater vest. It all works. But damn, did you guys see his shoes. They were the same ones from a few weeks ago, and they still look as awesome as ever. Oh and my man trended worldwide last night! Take that Jerry Lawler!
Miss: Triple H: COO, Hypocrite
*Face-palm* Let me get this straight, HHH was going to fire John Laurinaitis last night for putting people in unfair matches and abusing his power. So David Otunga is praying for Mr. Laurinaitis (awesome) and he gets interrupted by Justin Roberts. Apparently the Game is angry at Otunga for sticking by Laurinaitis, so he sticks him in a match with the 2012 Royal Rumble Winner Sheamus. Oh, and Otunga is in street clothes!!! Dude, you are doing the exact same thing you are mad at Laurainitis for doing. Maybe it will all tie in with HHH proving that he really hasn't put all his personal problems aside (i.e. The Undertaker) but I doubt it. I for one think Otunga should take Triple H's ass to court!
But as much as I love Otunga, I must also give him a bonus miss. When he was saying his plea for Big Johnny to be retained as Interim General Manager of Raw, he should have pushed further. Something along the lines of: "In fact, I think Mr. Larinaitis has done such an exceptional job, that he should be rewarded and have the Interim title stripped and be named the permanent General Manager of Monday Night Raw!" It would have been the perfect sort of over the top statement that would draw him even more heat.
Miss: Damnit Jerry
"It wasn't fair, but it was fun!"-Jerry Lawler. Can I suggest Michael Cole writes down the stupid shit Lawler says and then throws it back in his face please? That was the Cole I enjoyed.
Bullseye of the Week: This is how you do it.
While looking for the bullseye of the week, I realized I didn't have to look far. Jericho finally cutting a full fledged promo was great, and was exactly what it should have been. We finally know what the end of the world means. No longer will impostors and wannabees run around proclaiming to be things they are not. Jericho promised the end of the plagiarism and the lies that had been going on before admitting to trolling the pathetic audience. I'm not going to go into detail here, but it is a must watch segment if you missed Raw. Jericho proclaiming "I am. I live and breath it. It's who I am" when referring to being the Best in the World was fantastic. Y2J singled out CM Punk as the biggest offender and promised to reclaim what was his. That's when the song Jericho hates hit the airwaves.
When Punk came to the ring, I was hoping that he would not make fun of Jericho's hair, jacket, etc. For this feud to truly live up to its potential, we don't need the cute and funny CM Punk. We need the master of the Pipe-bomb. The guy who is willing to say whatever the hell is on his mind. And last night, Punk decided against unleashing any jokes or any pipe-bombs. He simply raised the WWE Championship, and left. This accomplished two major things. One, it showed how important the WWE title is. He has the right to call himself the Best in the World because he IS the WWE Champion. Second, it absolutely made Jericho go bananas. Seeing Y2J's plan fall apart was great, and the scowl on his face was even better. Punk has never been one for silence, but he was last night. Thankfully, it was the right move and only served to get me even more excited for their eventual main-event match.
Miss: Hooray, its the Great Khali!
Since I don't do a Smackdown Review, I've got to say this here. The Great Khali being in the Chamber...its just wrong. They guy looks great, but he can't go. Putting him in the Chamber takes away a spot from a guy who could really use it. Hell, have a battle royal for the final spot and have Drew McIntyre weasel his way to a victory. Just not the Great Khali. Oh and I'm not thrilled about him pinning Cody. It's not the end of the world, but I just wish it didn't happen.
Hit: On the bright side!
Okay, Khali was actually bearable last night. He didn't do much, but he looked better than usual. It doesn't change my mind about him being in the Chamber match, but at least Khali played to his strengths last night. On a completely unrelated note, how hilarious would it be if Khali and Orton switched gimmicks for night? God I would love that lol
But coming back to Smackdown for a moment, I truly believe that the main-event for this Friday's Smackdown is very important for the direction of the blue brand. If D-Bryan looks strong against the Viper, then we are headed in the right direction. Lets just hope that's what happens.
Miss: This is all of them
So last night we had a Royal Rumble rematch when the only four face divas in the company took on the only four heel divas. Look, the Kharma/Beth feud should be great, but what are they going to do when its over? I like a lot of the current divas, I even think Eve is better than most give her credit for (hope her nose heals up!) but you cannot sustain a healthy Divas division with eight women. You just can't. That got me thinking, if the WWE Network is going to put on an all Crusierweights show (great idea by the way!) then why not an all Divas show. Hire some more women wrestlers and give them a chance to shine. Build characters and storylines that go beyond heel versus face and the standard "You're such a loser!" "No I'm not, you are!" that most of the Divas storylines are predicated on. I doubt it will happen, but I for one would like to see it.
Hit: Call an Ambulance.
The only Ambulance match that really stands out in my mind is the one between Shane Mcmahon and Kane at Survivor Series 2003. Heck, that may have been the only one but I don't want to paint myself in a corner there. Anyway, that match was a fun one and really worked with the feud Shane and Kane were having. Now with the Cena/Kane feud, I think this may be the perfect vehicle for the culmination of the embracing the hate storyline. I have my reservations, but I am interested in seeing this match and hopefully it is a good one.
Okay, before I move on, did you see Triple H and the end of that segment with Laurinaitis?!? When John left, Triple H went straight to his phone and started texting!!! Is Triple H becoming John Laruinaitis? And what exactly was he saying in that text? My guess: "LOL Big Johnny is such an ass. Suck it! roflamo XD"
Hit: 10 am came, and Big Johnny is Still Here
I woke up this morning and before heading out the door saw that the Board of Directors have decided to retain Mr. Laurinaitis as the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and the Interim Raw General Manager. I think this is the right move, but I'm just hoping it doesn't turn sour. I don't really have a basis for thinking that, I just feel like we could get another...oh here we go...Nash texted Nash situation which would not be good.
A bonus hit has to be awarded as well to Big Johnny for planting the seeds deeper into the fans minds that Triple H is afraid of facing the Undertaker. Some may not want to believe it, but the facts are staring you right in the face. As of now, the Game looks afraid of the Deadman.
Small Miss: What the Funk?!
So Brodus Clay was kept off Television this week. Which I have no problem with. I'd rather them hold him back then just have him have another squash match. That being said, I think it would have been best to throw in a little video package or a quick 30 second interview from the Big Man. The people aren't going to forget about the Funkasaurus, but I still say they could have had him on the show in some capacity. Actually at one point in the show I saw balloons in the rafters and thought they may be for him. Obviously they weren't, but I wouldn't mind seeing Clay getting funky with some balloons. Wow, that sounded weird....Moving on!
Hit: "He talks to an invisible character"
That sort of quick comment by Michael Cole is great and had me laughing my ass off. Cole often buries talent but this was fine because of just how crazy R-Truth has shown he can be.
Hit: The WWE Obviously reads Erock's Reviews
A few weeks ago, I was very pleased to see the Miz and R-Truth facing off to determine who would enter number one in the Royal Rumble. I called for more qualifying matches and such, and lo and behold we now have a Six-Pack challenge with the winner getting the right to enter the Elimination Chamber match last! This was exactly what I was talking about, and you're welcome WWE!
Hit: The Execution of a Six-Pack Challenge
This match had so much in it, I figured I'd just go through some bullet points of what I liked best:
- Everyone (but Punk) attacking Jericho at the beginning was great and showed that Jericho had made no friends with his words earlier on.
- Jericho following this up by simply hiding during parts of the match was brilliant.
- Geez, R-Truth took a nasty fall and I'm glad to hear he is okay. I'm also glad they got him out of the match that quickly.
- Ziggler deciding against diving was perfect, and looked even better considering Truth had just knocked himself silly with a miss. It didn't hurt that he did a bit of showing off afterwards!
- Teasing physical confrontation between Y2J and Punk is great and I like that they had only as much contact as needed to get to the finish of the match.
- If I had it my way, Punk and Jericho would have little to no contact in the Chamber match and I'm thinking we may get exactly that.
- I will always appreciate a Tower of Doom sighting.
- Kofi hit a nice Trouble and Paradise here. The more I think about it, it really is one of my favorite finishers in the WWE today.
- And as an aside, the "We Hate Cena" guy must have been disappointed. He only got to yell at Cena during the dark match!
Hit: Y2J in the Driver's Seat.
Last night, Chris Jericho picked up the victory and guaranteed that he would be the last entrant in the Elimination Chamber match. Considering this will be his record-breaking seventh chamber match, the odds on favorite has to now be Y2J. Thus, he is in the driver's seat on the Road to Wrestelmania. Sitting Punk-style in the middle of the ring with the WWE Championship on his shoulder was the perfect picture to go along with the picture with the two of them and the Wrestelemania sign from earlier in the night. The WWE seems to be committed to this Jericho/Punk feud and that is good news for all wrestling fans. I'm not sure what the next move will be, but it certainly has me excited.
Meh: Kane says Cena MUST embrace the hate.
I couldn't give this one a hit or a miss. If it was earlier in the show, I probably would have marked it as a hit. And while I see why it was put on last, it just felt wrong to me. I guess it comes down to me already being invested in the Punk/Jericho feud and being fully aware that the Cena/Kane program is coming to an end. I am curious to see what happens between the two men at the Elimination Chamber, but nowhere near as excited as I am to find out who truly is the Best in the World.
Note: Thanks for reading as always and comments, shares, likes, and everything are truly appreciated it.