Since January’s WWM there have been two PPV’s which have done little in themselves to drastically change the Raw state of play, but it has nicely set up the feuds that should lead to WrestleMania with the exception of one feud that was brilliantly unleashed in the latest episode of Raw.
Reporting on the return of the Rock, Raw has established as the undoubted premier brand in the WWE universe as some reflections on the top feuds reflect.
The Miz vs. John Cena
It is important to include the Rock in this feud as the guest host of WrestleMania and having garnered reactions from both of these competitors. There is no doubt that this is the top feud for WrestleMania as it should be especially with the title on the line. The latest Raw evoked a number of reactions that I read with interest and its worth giving my take on them.
First, some online thought that Cena’s response to the Rock was a return to his best form on the mic. I saw it and heard it and actually thought it wasn’t anything on the raps he used to give when he was that type of mic-man. It reminded me of how pathetic it is to refer to someone’s genitals and inferring homosexuality to get a pop. Cena isn’t as good as the Rock on the mic, but he has the support of the young fans which counts for much. He definitely is putting in the effort, it’s just that it is not all that good … but good enough for the feud.
Second, The Miz. He is keeping his end of the deal very well especially considering the focus threatens to be more on The Rock vs. John Cena. His promos are on the button and he’s playing his part to the tee and I concur with those who feel that way. This hopefully will be the making of him as a top main even star even as other main events at WrestleMania have suited others.
Finally some people had a problem with the finish to the last Raw where initially Cena and Miz captured the tag team titles only to drop them again at the rematch called for immediately. I had no problem with this set up at all. It fitted the whole deal of The Miz being a heel as well as living up to his word. I thought it worked and actually worked to motivate the storyline that it is Miz vs. Cena. I look forward to seeing how they can crank it up further in the run to that main even match.
Triple H vs. The Undertaker
At first I would have put the Punk/Orton feud as the second most important on Raw, but the promo to set this feud up was absolutely outstanding. Most people expected the return of The Undertaker with the clips all hinting at his return. To then have Triple H make his return afterwards was a pleasant surprise, but to then sell the feud wordlessly was a stroke of brilliance.
These two are now legends and heavyweight figures on the roster and they have enough clout and ability to truly sell this as a match that matters. Ten years on since the first time Trips sought to beat Taker at Mania, there is no reason why Hunter will succeed where others have failed. It will be very intriguing to see if they sell this one as HHH looking to get revenge for Taker retiring his mate Shawn Michaels. I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to get HBK back as a guest referee for the bout.
In any case there is lots to be excited about regarding this feud.
CM Punk vs. Randy Orton
This is ticking over fairly well at the moment with Punk bringing his A-game on the mic and Orton doing his usual hard man gets angry and turns freaky with that crazed look in his eyes of someone who hears voices in his head.
As I’ve mentioned with the way other feuds are being put over, this one is not getting the attention it could do with to make an impression on the grandest stage of them all. I want to see what they want to do with this feud. I’m still bothered about them rendering New Nexus as pansies for the almighty Orton, but that could change, if they wanted it to.
… And The Rest:
King Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan – some are concerned at where Sheamus is in the overall scheme of things ad I understand the concern. To make him King of the Ring is one thing and then to not push him since kinda makes a mockery of the status. The feud can work out as both are quality performers in and out of the ring. Their only problem is that in the run-up to WrestleMania they will be competing with bigger and better feuds.
Jerry The King Lawler vs. Michael Cole. They pulled off his World Championship bout with The Miz very well. The story was told very well and the right result emerged. It was brave of them to use the real life issue the King faced with the death of his mother. My take on that was that they did it just within the bounds of acceptability and Jerry must have given his permission, which makes it just alright. Jerry showed himself to be a consummate performer on the mic and in the establishing of this feud he was on form. I’m still undecided on the heel Michael Cole – it can play well and it can just be annoying. The love-in for The Miz works alright.
What next for John Morrison – if there’s a Money in the Bank match he has to be a top contender for that. Raw don’t really have a tag team, evidently not believing in them especially if Santino and Kozlov is your top team.
So Raw has enough to keep them going for the six weeks until the big PPV of the year, the issue is whether or not they will keep us enticed productively.