WWE Monday Night Raw last night (March 19, 2012) emanated from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and featured a fairly uneventful show, despite the presence of John Cena, The Rock, Undertaker, Triple H and Shawn Michaels, all within the same two hour block.
- After thinking on this show following the post-Raw live podcast (which you can listen to in its entirety right here), I don't dislike the fact that it was mostly uneventful. After all, there's a certain balancing act with WWE needing to make sure they peak all their big feuds at the right time. They were largely stagnant last night but that's okay because the go-home show should be explosive and then it's on to WrestleMania 28.
- The Rock finally inserted some level of feeling in his promo outside of his driving desire to insult Cena in the lowest ways imaginable. I can get back behind Team Bring It when the goal is clear and concise and spoken with such strong emotion. Adding the emphasis of a Rock Bottom on Mark Henry to send a clear message was even better. More like that, less like the rest.
- Undertaker can no longer operate in the same capacity he always used to, and that's fine. But when we're reduced to his speaking in that slow drawl and not saying much more than repeating something he said weeks ago, it makes me wonder why we should spend time on this feud at all. They started slow but the writing turned good and the performances improved until we've hit somewhat of a plateau, like they've run out of things to say with two weeks until the match.
- Shawn Michaels found his smile, as Sergio so aptly pointed out, and all it took was for 'Taker to tell Triple H "The Showstopper" is better than he is. Which is true, of course, but the heelish HBK has always been the best. Still, is anyone actually doubting how he'll call the match at 'Mania. Anyone?
- WWE has shown a great deal of discipline in making sure the top two programs heading into the big show have featured five guys who have yet to touch each other beyond a grab of the arm. It's vital they preserve how special it is when these boys finally do lock up. Can you imagine what that first exchange with Rock and Cena will be like? Miami will explode when Rock hits his trademark punches before spitting into his hand for the last one. The fact that it will be the first time he's actually done so will make it all the better.
- Chris Jericho is a cold, unfeeling, sinister son of a bitch who is perfect for the role he's occupying now, the heel who reminds CM Punk of his dark past. I found it cute that Punk tried to say he doesn't let the past shape his future when that's pretty much the exact opposite of how his entire career has played out but I suppose it works to say that here. It still bothers me in some ways that Jericho's troll character seems to be completely gone with no return in site but all signs point to him winning the title at 'Mania before dropping it back to Punk at Extreme Rules in Chicago. I couldn't be happier with how this feud is playing out.
- No Brodus Clay on WWE TV makes Geno grumpy.
Going with an abbreviated version of the Raw reactions this week because, frankly, there just wasn't a lot to work with. Dolph Ziggler bumped and looked good, Jack Swagger's haircut is laughable, Santino Marella is still our funny guy, David Otunga stole two gimmicks and did both better than the originals and Daniel Bryan is the best in the world. That's about it, folks.
Last night's show gets a C grade; nothing terrible but nothing great, either. What do you think, Cagesiders?