Tremendous Tirades 3.25.13: WWE Monday Night Raw
Posted by Larry Csonka on 03.25.2013
WWE engages cruise control on the long road to WrestleMania…
It's the road to WrestleMania, and with that being the case, I have dusted off the old Tremendous Tirades name for new alternate recap to the main shows that will air each week (Raw, Impact and Smackdown). This will not be another traditional recap, but instead it will be a mash up of the Rs, Instant Analysis and my usual Twitter ramblings I would do during the shows; completely uncensored and as the ideas flow unfiltered to the old keyboard.
I felt that last week's show was not a great stop on the Road to WrestleMania. The first half of the show was a struggle to get through, and it felt as if they were throwing stuff at the wall. They did some things for Mania, but it was nothing really exciting as in how they got there. The live crowd also didn't seem to care about the large majority of the show, which is never a good thing. The closing angle, in theory is fine, but again, the lack of buzz coming from it was not a good sign. If you missed last week's show, you really missed nothing.
Tonight's edition of the show comes to you live from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA.
CM Punk, Paul Heyman and an Urn Walk Into a Wrestling Ring: With Paul Heyman back at his side, and the urn still in his possession, CM Punk kicked off the show this week. He noted that Undertaker should have skipped off into the sunset with HHH and HBK last year to make a perfect ending. He also said that he was not afraid of the dark or The Undertaker's magical WrestleMania streak. The Undertaker is a man, and he doesn't want the streak, he simply wants to break it. The stealing of the urn wasn't about disrespecting Paul Bearer, it was again taking what belonged to the Undertaker. Punk noted that he is not another man, and no one is better than he is, smarter than he is and he goes into the match with a psychological advantage. He promised to be the "1" in 20-1. He then stated that he was waiting for the lights to drop and the chill to fill the air, and added that the streak and Undertaker will rest in peace. The lights dropped, and then came back on and Taker was there to put the ass beating on Punk. Unfortunately for Undertaker, Punk managed to escape, along with Heyman and the urn. The crowd seemed to like it, and while not overly great, it was a fine start to the show.
Rating (1-10): 7.0
Cena and Rock go face to face later tonight.
Fandango will allegedly wrestle next.
Fandango came out for his in ring debut, including doing his full entrance. The one thing that I will say about him, there is a sweet trumpet solo in his entrance music. No debut because Jericho came out and beat his ass, which led too…
Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler: Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler was scheduled for later tonight, but since Jericho busted up Fandango's party, they sent out Ziggler and we had our match. As you would expect, they had a good match. Ziggler is great, Jericho is still great, and they have some good chemistry. But I will say that, in my opinion, this is the kind of match that you shouldn't be booking. Ziggler and Langston are challenging for the tag titles, and just got momentum, so Ziggler losing here (and having Langston so easily dispatched) does them no good. Obviously if Jericho is going to be used to get Fandango over, he shouldn't lose. This is a case of a non-finish (DQ likely) would have been for the best. Then you could have done the Langston attack followed by the Fandango attack. I am still not sure if Fandango is getting good heat, or go away heat; but while I do not like him, the beat down was good and there was some heat, which is always better than no reaction at all. To me this came off fine, but again, it didn't do Ziggler many favors. The point is that WWE has full control over what matches and finishes are booked, as this close to WM, they should be mindful of protecting guys. But considering that they don't worry about that the rest of the year, it comes as no surprise to me.
Rating (1-10): 6.0
Sheamus tried to cut a promo, but the Shield beat him down. Orton tried to make the save, failed, but then Big Show came and saved the day. There was some uncomfortable breathing by Sheamus to close out the segment. Like, phone stalker creepy.
Mark Henry vs. The Usos: The Usos got to hit all of their shit on Mark, that was a really bad idea because it simply pissed him off. He dispatched them rather quickly, because, "that's what he do." After he pinned the first Uso, Henry decided that the second Uso needed some more beating, and made sure to share the pain. But he wasn't done and delivered more punishment as he yelled, "ALL DAY!" You're building a monster vs. monster match, there is going to be carnage, and that is not a bad thing. The best part was Henry dropping the big splash on the Uso that hit the top rope splash, and yelling "Nobody splashes me!" I liked it, it was simple, and while I know Ryback vs. Henry will be no classic, they are making me want to see it because the booking is clean. I would expect to see Ryback in a similar match on Smackdown as they try to one up each other.
Rating (1-10): 7.5
Well we don't have to wait until Smackdown, Ryback faces 3MB later tonight.
Champion vs. who gives a fuck…: Antonio Cesaro battled Alberto Del Rio. I remember this match when they ran it on the March 11th edition of Smackdown. Yes, they ran this same match that recently. And that is why Champion vs. Champion matches mean jack and shit, that is why 99% of stipulation matches mean jack and shit, and that is why most of them do not draw anymore. Because they are either overused or the stipulation gets broken, hence it means nothing to the people that paid for it. The action, while it lasted was fine, and the good news is that Cesaro didn't lose. The bad news is that he became Del Rio's bitch after the bell. Some asked in my Smackdown review, "why am I surprised that the US Champion is booked this way since the title doesn't matter." Well, that's kind of the point; I am not surprised at all. The point is that the US Champion should be booked better, not like a jobber. The US Champion should have a match on the biggest show of the year, not used to build up others on the road to WrestleMania. I am sorry if you're cool with mediocrity, but I am not. Back to the match, with crowd reactions lacking, they have slightly switched gears to use Ricardo for sympathy so the crowds will support Del Rio. That seemed to work rather well tonight with Dutch distracting Del Rio and Swagger attacking Ricardo. Del Rio beat down Swagger and ran him off, but Ricardo was once again hurt due to Swagger's attack on the ankle. It was fine, but I don't feel a lot of excitement for the match.
Talkies With Triple H: Triple H, the guy that basically retired after Summerslam on his own, came out to discuss his WrestleMania match, where if he loses, he will have to retire. Yup. He put over Lesnar as a destroyer, and that he could end anyone's career at anytime. But then he warned Lesnar that it might be his end; because he was coming to kick his ass. I liked that Triple H is keeping the promos shorter and more to the point as opposed to years past. It was also enough to keep the build moving, but not blowing the wad too soon, which is also good. I was in love with this for the most part, and then, then they had to do something stupid. Wade Barrett's music hit, he motioned for Triple H to hit the bricks, and Triple H kicked him in the balls. That's right kids, remember, THE SECONDARY CHAMPIONS MEAN NOTHING AND ARE NOT BIG STARS. This is the kind of thing that simply pisses me off, and added NOTHING to the show other than to make Barrett look like shit. And he needed no help there, because creative has been doing a perfect job of that without Triple H kicking him in the balls. Or is it cutting off his balls? It's the same thing in this instance. It wasn't needed at all, unless the goal was to inflate Triple H's ego, because that is what that was all about.
Kane and Daniel Bryan had a conversation backstage, about not being over AJ. Kaitlyn was there for some reason, and then got into the conversation about being screwed over by AJ. AJ snuck in and was listening, because she's sneaky. Kaitlyn then started to rant about AJ and her being friends once upon a time and that AJ is crazy. AJ then attacked her and yelled at her about not being crazy. Bryan did drop a line about, "AJ not being after her title," which could be a tease of a late addition to the card.
Great Khali, Zach Ryder and Justin Gabriel vs. The Shield: The Shield defeated Great Khali, Zach Ryder and Justin Gabriel quite easily. You see, now this is how you do things. Great Khali, Zach Ryder and Justin Gabriel are not doing anything, they are jobbers, and the Shield destroyed them, and looked good. They powerbombed Khali after the match, because they could, and stood tall like they were the shit. But then their opponents, who were out for revenge due to the attack earlier tonight, came out. They played the Shield's game, they took the advantage and cornered them, and they got to send them packing. The faces stood tall, but they didn't humiliate their opponents, they didn't get the full revenge. People still want to see that, and that is what they want at WrestleMania. This was short, sweet, simple and to the point. And that's why it works.
Rating (1-10): 8.0
Chris Jericho says that he is a target, and since Fandango has attacked him twice and kicked his ass two times. Fandango will get his chance, when he faces Jericho at WrestleMania.
I am still waiting on Antonio Cesaro's WrestleMania match to be announced. I m sure he'll be active at AXXESS…
Team Rhodes Scholars w/The Bellas vs. Dance Dance Revolution: This was essentially the same thing that we watched on Smackdown on Friday night, but instead of the match ending with the ladies brawl, it was a distraction with the Rhodes Scholars getting the win. This again looks like they are building to the eight-person tag that had been rumored, either for the pre-show or for the actual WrestleMania show. It was fine.
Rating (1-10): 6.0
We get a preview video for G.I. Joe: Please Forget About The First One and Come See This For The Rock.
Ryback vs. 3MB: This was similar to the Henry match, where the opponents got a little run on the guy, but ultimately lost to the monster. Ryback then one-upped Henry, but using Shell Shock on two men. Again, it was simple, clean, and built well to the battle of the monsters. I may have saved it for Smackdown, simply to not have two handicap matches on the show, but that is a minor point. This is also leading to a weight lifting competition on Smackdown between Ryback and Henry.
Rating (1-10): 7.5
We get highlights of Jack Swagger beating down Ricardo Rodriguez.
Arnold Schwarzenegger will induct Bruno Sammartino into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Non-Title Match: Kaitlyn vs. AJ: They did some stuff, Kaitlyn missed a spear on the floor and was counted out. AJ celebrated, and that is likely your build to a WrestleMania match.
Rating (1-10): 4.0
Rock will be on Smackdown this week.
Michael Cole announces that Shield vs. Show, Sheamus and Orton is now official for WrestleMania.
Main Event Interview: Jerry Lawler is the moderator, and to ask questions to John Cena and the Rock, we have Booker T, Mick Foley, The American Dream Dusty Rhodes and Bret Hart. Flair was supposed to be there, but was sent home due to health issues. I tend not to be a fan of "debate" style segments, but for the most part I liked the promos here. It was seriously it was about winning and losing, and I felt the Hall of Fame guys added nicely to the segment. I am really glad that they dropped a lot of the comedy stuff and went with the serious tone for the feud, because that is what it needed. I liked Cena getting pissed when Rock discussed beating him, noting that he had Rock beat and only lost because he did something stupid. That played into the end, where Rock called out Cena, and left him laying with the Rock Bottom. The only real downside to the segment was that it felt really long, and that is not a good feeling. Overall a good segment, and it was the right direction, but it didn't blow me away.
Rating (1-10): 7.5
I know a lot of people feel that WWE hits their creative best on the Road to WrestleMania, but I am not feeling it. The booking is fine one moment, some weeks even great, but then they do so many questionable things. Like telling us in one segment to not care about a performer, and they expecting us to care the next time we see them.
WrestleMania is in 13 days, and I am not feeling it. Tonight was a show, it didn't feel important, and it did nothing to make me want to buy WrestleMania. They did some things that were fine, but again, it felt like a show that if you missed it, you missed nothing because to me it felt like nothing really happened. And it just isn't me, I had this sent to me on Twitter during the show…
@larrycsonka411 As a casual fan...there is no question that the interest is gone. Last year = Intrigue, this year...absolutely nothing
I will say that the closing segment was pretty good, but again, it just didn't have that big time feel that you'd expect from the main angle at WrestleMania, which is unfortunately a theme thus far this year.
I just hope that they have been saving up for next week and will deliver a huge go home show, because at this point, I feel they need it.
Show Rating: 6.0
As a reminder, I will be going by the 411 scale…
0 - 0.9: Torture 1 - 1.9: Extremely Horrendous 2 - 2.9: Very Bad 3 - 3.9: Bad 4 - 4.9: Poor 5 - 5.9: Not So Good 6 - 6.9: Average 7 - 7.9: Good 8 - 8.9:Very Good 9 - 9.9: Amazing 10: Virtually Perfect
What Did You Think of WWE Monday Night Raw?
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Larry Csonka is a Pisces and enjoys rolling at jiu jitsu class with Hotty McBrownbelt, cooking, long walks on the beach, Slingo and the occasional trip to Jack in the Box. He is married to a soulless ginger and has two beautiful daughters who are thankfully not soulless gingers; and is legally allowed to marry people in 35 states. He has been a wrestling fan since 1982 and has been writing for 411 since May 24th, 2004; contributing over 3,000 columns, TV reports and video reviews to the site.