Much of this week’s show was hit or miss. We had a dud musical performance (they’re all duds, aren’t they?), a lame duck tag team match with The Big Show and Kane, and an appearance by the always awful Los Matadores. But there was some good stuff too. Let’s dive in.
A video package airs hyping Roman Reigns. Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman respond. I actually like the package they played a lot. I usually don’t like it when Roman Reigns talks. But it seems that he’s, ironically, like Brock Lesnar in that he’s good when he’s in produced video packages. They can edit, they can give it a proper pace, and they can make certain people look like they’re better talkers than they are. So kudos to the team that worked on that video package.
In terms of Heyman’s response, it looks like they’re intentionally hyping up Lesnar potentially defecting to the UFC. There’s no way WWE would let Heyman say all that stuff about the Montreal screwjob, or what they’re paying Brock, or any of that stuff. Plus, the notion that somebody in the back keeps screwing with Heyman’s mic is interesting.
Still, the fans still seem to want to cheer Brock. And why not? A large percentage of fans don’t like Roman Reigns anyway. And when you boil it all down all Heyman is really saying is that Brock is going to kick Reigns’ ass at Wrestlemania. So why wouldn’t Reigns’ detractors want to see that?
That comment about The Undertaker needing to be “resurrected” was also interesting. I so wish we could get an Undertaker/Lesnar rematch so the Dead Man could even the score. Speaking of which…
The Undertaker sends a response to Bray Wyatt, setting his rocking chair ablaze. The metaphor Bray Wyatt used about finding The Undertaker when he “followed the buzzards,” along with the statement “It was always about you,” are interesting to me. They seem to imply that Wyatt was gunning for ‘Taker from the start. That’s an interesting notion.
I’m not sure what I was expecting in terms of Undertaker’s return. I suppose it had to be something like this. I give Bray a lot of credit for selling it all the way he did. He flubbed a couple of lines during his promo, but considering how big and important this segment was, it’s understandable. He got all the important parts across.
Sometimes it’s tough to answer the question of why The Undertaker’s cheesy “magic” stuff works, but when WWE tries similar hokey stuff with other wrestlers, it doesn’t. But when you get right down to it, The Undertaker is so universally respected that you almost believe in his tricks. Especially older fans who’ve been watching him for so many years. Seeing him again is undoubtedly one of the major selling points of Wrestlemania this year.
Randy Orton turns on Seth Rollins after main event. I almost wish they’d waited a little longer on this one, and let the tension grow even hotter. But what the hell? We all knew where they were eventually going anyway. If they’re given a good amount of time, Randy Orton and Seth Rollins may just steal the show at Wrestlemania.
After brutalizing Curtis Axel, Rusev gets brutalized by John Cena. This segment had some great intensity to it. Rusev mowed down Axel, and then to his credit, cut a really good promo on the United States. But as good as Rusev was, Cena’s babyface comeback was better. It had that edge that a lot of people want from Cena. He made Rusev pass out, then woke him up just to do it again. He’s basically torturing Rusev, and forcing Lana to give him what he wants. This was the kind of John Cena I’d have liked to see in September when he was still working with Brock Lesnar. And did you hear some of the male fans chanting for him? Great segment.
A hype video reveals why Sting targeted Triple H. Why did they make Sting’s voice deeper? All you have to do is subscribe to that damn network they keep pushing, and you’ll be able to hear his real voice. So why change it? It doesn’t make sense. Still, Sting’s got the motivation he should have. He’s fighting against injustice. That’s what heroes do. Good hype for Wrestlemania.
R-Truth once again joins the commentary desk during two matches. While I always enjoy hearing R-Truth talk and just do his thing, it was also an illustration of just how bad the announcing has gotten in WWE. During Bad News Barrett vs. Daniel Bryan, they’re supposed to be trying to sell this angle about how Barrett is the Intercontinental Champion, but he hasn’t actually had his title belt in a number of weeks now. Instead of talking about what’s happening in the ring, and actually telling the story, Michael Cole, JBL, and R-Truth spent the most of that match amusing themselves. They were better during Dean Ambrose vs. Stardust, as they at least talked about the characters in the ring, and the match itself.
I give WWE credit for spending a few segments building to this big ladder match at Wrestlemania. But this whole angle about Barrett not having his title belt and losing match after match doesn’t really work for me at all. I get that it’s supposed to build up the idea that Barrett could easily lose the title at Wrestlemania, But Barrett losing to all these guys time after time is kind of ridiculous. One would think it’s also confusing to those “casual viewers” WWE is always trying to get. Barrett is the champion, but Ambrose had the belt for a few weeks, and this week Stardust had it. Then at the end, Truth had it. It’s just a little too out there for me.
Wiz Khalifa performs on Raw. No. Musical performances just don’t belong on Raw. I’m sorry, it just isn’t what wrestling fans want to see. Thank you, but no.
Written by: The Fanboy Wonder, Rob Siebert