Previewing the March 11, 2013 episode of WWE "Monday Night Raw", featuring the continuation of The Rock and John Cena's feud, the buildup to The Undertaker vs. CM Punk, Brock Lesnar's answer to Triple H's challenge, and MORE!
Rock! Cena! Collapse! Redemption! Lets Do It Again! 4 More Weeks! WWE Championship!
Last year I wrote a piece explaining why John Cena must lose against The Rock at WrestleMania 28. Cena had been on top of the world for far too long. He had won far too much. A victory against Rock would just have been another notch in the bedpost.
If there was any hope for Cena to become an interesting character, he needed to lose.
For once, WWE let long term goals outweigh short term gains. John Cena lost that night in Miami, Florida. It allowed his character to spend the next twelve months fighting to regain his footing. It made the potential rematch all the more exciting. It was the right decision.
Up until Cena had a year that almost any other pro wrestler would die for.
A loss to Tensai via green mist. A victory over Brock Lesnar. A loss to John Laurinaitis via The Big Show's interference. A revenge victory over Tensai. A win over Show. Winner of Money in the Bank contract. Failed cash in of said contract against CM Punk via Show interference. A trio of losses to Punk, one via screwjob, one via dusty finish, and one via interference by The Shield. A loss to Dolph Ziggler via AJ Lee heel turn. A pair of victories over Ziggler. Winner of the Royal Rumble. Loss to The Shield. A win over Punk.
An average year? Maybe. But go look at Cena's win/loss record. His name pops up far more often in the win column than not.
And that is not how you start a story of redemption.
We can sit here and argue what each match means. But you can either count wins and losses or how each match went. If you want to say Cena got his ass whooped by Lesnar, that's fine. But you can't count Tensai, Laurinaitis, the failed cash in, at least two of the championship matches against Punk, and the ladder match against Ziggler against him.
If you say the only thing that matters is wins and losses, that's perfectly acceptable. But Cena has been winning at around an 80% clip in all of his matches. And, perhaps more importantly, he has won every single feud he has been invested in, with the sole exception of The Shield.
But we can save that for the summer, can't we?
If you want to quibble over semantics and this, that, and the other, go right ahead. But the fact remains WWE had a full year knowing we were going to see this rematch. If it wanted to push that Cena has "collapsed" since losing to The Rock, then it should have really pushed the damn thing. Cena should have lost to Lesnar. He should have lost to Tensai and Show without getting his pinfalls back. At least one of the losses against Punk should have been clean. He shouldn't have gotten his revenge against Ziggler, and then some.
Winning the Royal Rumble? That should have been Cena's first meaningful victory in a long time. Put him in a BS feud going into Elimination Chamber so he can build up steam. Winning against Punk could have been a huge blowoff. There was a way to make this story work. There was a way to make this really feel meaningful.
Of course, this is John Cena and WWE. So we will get some half-assed crap, and we will enjoy it.
And for anyone who says, "of course WWE wouldn't have Cena lose for a full year"? You are just the worst type of pro wrestling fan. The idea that any fan will tune out just because Cena doesn't win on a pay-per-view (PPV) is absurd. You're accepting lazy booking based on misguided assumptions on "the business". Cena does not need to be marching through the roster in order to sell t-shirts and arm bands.
What he needs to be doing is telling interesting and coherent stories.
What's done is done, though, and we have four more shows to fill. What they will be filled with, though, is completely beyond me.
Punk! Taker! Respect! The! Streak!
If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times.
Simple booking is simple.
Last week (March 4) CM Punk came out and demanded respect from the WWE Universe. It was our fault that The Rock and John Cena will be battling over the WWE Championship. It was our fault that they could just waltz into the main event of WrestleMania. It was our fault the longest championship reign in the modern era came to an end. So Punk decided to take something we hold dear...
Following Punk's victory over Randy Orton, Sheamus, and The Big Show, he earned the right to challenge The Undertaker at "The Grandaddy of Them All."
And once Taker walked through the curtain, the match was official.
Again, simple booking is simple.
We all knew this match was going to happen. Although there was some hope for a triple threat between Punk, Rock and Cena, it makes far more sense to keep the main event simple.
So the match is all set up. What do we do now? Where does this thing go with four weeks left until the big show?
Well, it's interesting to note Punk was heavily emphasizing his straight edge persona. It had taken a back seat to the "best in the world" gimmick recently, but seems to be in full force again.
Or I could be reading far too much into it. Very possible.
Then there is Taker's decision to accept Punk's challenge as valid. Did he authorize Vickie Guerrero to book him an opponent? Did he always want to fight Punk, and it just happened to work out that way? Are there some dark forces at play?
Or is this just another example of WWE Logic that we will just have to accept?
This is an angle that needs no backstory, but with Punk and Paul Heyman it would be irresponsible to not let them tear it up on the mic. I am perhaps most intrigued about what will happen between CM Punk and The Undertaker.
Just as long as WWE remembers to keep everything simple.
Trips! Brock! Every! Other! Week! Con! Fron! Tation!
You know what was awesome last year? Triple H vs. The Undertaker with Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee at WrestleMania 28. It was a brilliant match between two legends of the business, and it was a fitting end to the feud.
You know what sucked last year? The month and a half build up that we were forced to bear witness to.
Triple H came out last week and "called out" Brock Lesnar. Which, okay cool, that works. But he didn't really say anything, did he? Lesnar beat Trips at SummerSlam. Lesnar attacked Vince McMahon two weeks ago. Trips gave Lesnar 18 staples to the dome.
So now they have to fight at WrestleMania 29.
Lesnar will come out tonight, meander around in a counter-promo, and will eventually accept Hunter's request. The only details to be sorted are if Lesnar will choose to agree tonight, if he'll wait for a spell, and if Paul Heyman will be involved in any manner.
The match at WrestleMania should be fun to watch. I cannot lie to you, Cagesiders, and tell you I am looking forward to the buildup.
At the very least, though, they should be short and self-contained.
Hopefully, this has prepared you for the night's festivities. Leave a comment below about what you are looking forward to, and please join the entire CSS gang in the live blog TONIGHT!