I think I’ve made it perfectly clear how I feel about the Royal Rumble PPV. So imagine my surprise when this week’s Monday Night RAW turned out to have some pretty good moments – moments that would have been quite useful in the lead up to the Rumble.
CM Punk’s opening ‘promo’ (if you can call it that) was absolutely perfect. Punk reacted exactly how a heel of his stature should react after losing the championship in what he truly believes was a shady manner. What made this segment even better was that you truly believed that Punk believed every word he was saying. How was this guy ever a babyface? He is the best heel the company has seen in a very, very long time and should remain so until his career ends. No tweener role. No anti-hero middle ground. Just straight up heel all the way. The intervention from Vince McMahon was expected but welcomed as he managed to nicely set up the show’s final moments.
In contrast The Rock’s promo was humble enough to keep him in a straight babyface position. He wasn’t too cocky, he wasn’t too over the top, he wasn’t too … Rock-like. In fact he actually gave the kind of promo you’d expect him to give if wrestling was considered a legit sport rather than a form of entertainment. Of course there was still room for comments like “deep fried Twinkie tits”, which made me laugh. CM Punk coming out and invoking his rematch clause made perfect sense and keeps the two men busy until Wrestlemania fever really kicks off. I just don’t get why anyone would want to fight over that hideous looking title belt.
I’ve never been a huge fan of the RAW Roulette concept but it has provided some mildly entertaining situations over the years. This time it forced mortal enemies Dolph Ziggler and Chris Jericho into a tag team to face Team Hell No. I’m not keen on no real mention being made of Jericho’s firing late last year. It makes about as much sense as those “You’ve still got it” chants we heard during the Royal Rumble match. How long has he been gone? 6 months or 6 years? It was nice to hear him say “Jerichoholics” after years of being as heel though.
It was also nice to see the 1-2-3 Kid get some TV time after years away from the spotlight. In his first RAW match in years Kid defeated the big bully Razor Ramon just like he did back in the early 90′s. Sorry, what’s that? It was Bo Dallas and Wade Barrett? Dallas’ victory was impressive but probably hurt Barrett’s credibility. After all, he is the Intercontinental champion. And did he actually win with an arm drag?
John Cena’s post Rumble victory promo was same old same old. The Shield’s attack was most welcome. JBL questioned why they were there with “Where’s the injustice?”. Obviously his ears weren’t offended by Cena’s snooze-worthy yapping. I love that The Shield don’t fear Ryback. Why would they? They’ve beaten him up loads of times. Sheamus was there too. Nobody cared.
I wonder if The Shield qualified for an appearance fee at the Rumble? Technically they weren’t there. Of course, they were there though and as Vince McMahon revealed it was at Paul Heyman’s request. For those of you that missed RAW the final ‘performance evaluation’ segment with Vince and Paul Heyman was just superb.
When Vince showed the world the video proof that Heyman was behind The Shield and Paul E tried to convince everyone it wasn’t him you just knew this was going to be a highly entertaining few minutes. I actually felt nervous for Brad Maddox in the clip. He seemed genuinely scared of what was going to happen to him at the hands (and boots) of The Shield. And then, when it appeared that VKM was about to fire Mr Heyman this happened:
What an intense, brilliantly performance from all three men. Paul Heyman’s begging was superb and so convincing. It’s so interesting to see how his dynamic with Brock differs from the one he has with Punk. Vince was obviously scared, at least from a storyline perspective, but wasn’t go to stand down when challenged by ‘the talent’ and Brock Lesnar did exactly what he does best. Leave people laying. I’m highly critical of the WWE product and up until last night I had very little hope that things would pick up in time for ‘Mania. However if this is an indication of where they’re heading and how good RAW and Smackdown could be over the next few weeks. For the first time in a long time I’ll be glued to my seat when WWE rolls into Atlanta for next Monday’s RAW.
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This article was first posted on January 30, 2013