Precap to the March 18, 2013 episode of WWE 'Monday Night Raw', or we're almost there!

Previewing the March 18, 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, Triple H answering Brock Lesnar's challenge, and MORE!

Rock! Cena! Hype Videos! Lost Time! 3 More Weeks! WWE Championship

The Rock vs. John Cena II is supposed to be the biggest match in the history of WrestleMania. The rematch is supposed to take all the excitement of the original and raise the stakes. Now the WWE Championship is on the line. Now The Rock is no longer a returning Attitude Era superstar but an established feature in the modern WWE. Now Cena is not simply fighting for pride, but for redemption.

Now things are supposed to be different.

So can someone, anyone, explain to me how both men can get away without appearing on last week's (March 8) Monday Night Raw?

Instead, WWE opted to go with a hype video to get fans excited. Yeah, it's a damn good hype video. I expect nothing less from WWE. These things are always going to be the gold standard in entertainment. ESPN should be banging down doors and opening the checkbooks to bring in WWE's video department.

It is no excuse, though, for neither of the main participants to not even show up a mere four weeks removed from the biggest show of the year.

I don't know why this is bothering me so much. It's not even like Rock or Cena would say anything of interest. More of the same song and dance about respect and redemption and who will kick whose ass. Neither of these men have shown a propensity towards flipping the script. Neither wants to take the role of the heel, nor will either say anything for fear of losing their position.

But it's the principal of the damn thing.

This is the WWE Champion and the face of the promotion. Go out there, say your lines, get people excited, and hype the damn pay-per-vew (PPV). There is no excuse for being absent.

There are three weeks left until WrestleMania 29. The least The Rock and John Cena could do is show up a few times between now and then.

Punk! Taker! Ruined Service! Stolen Urns! Revenge!

CM Punk vs. The Undertaker was probably the single match that needed no real buildup. Punk, the young, brash, angry former champion calls out 'Taker, a legend in the business, to take down The Streak. "The Deadman's" WrestleMania run has become legendary in and of itself. It has become its own title. Nothing else needed to be added to keep things exciting.

But then William Moody aka Paul Bearer passed away, and the situation became far too perfect for everyone to pass up.

Last week, it looked like Undertaker was going to have a memorial service for his friend and long time partner, Paul Bearer. We wondered if 'Taker was going to break character or keep this all in kayfabe. It's always a strange moment when WWE has to deal with death, and for a brief moment it looked like it was going to play this straight.

Of course, he wouldn't be CM Punk if he let this go without butting in. And that is why we love CM Punk.

Punk came out and told 'Taker that thankfully Paul Bearer passed before The Streak could end, that Bearer would forever know 'Taker as perfect at WrestleMania. It's enough of a shot to get booed, but not enough to be completely disrespectful to the life we've lost. Punk is walking a thin line, but it looks like he knows how to handle it.

And it's only going to get better moving forward.

Kane was quick to come out and defend his father's memory, leading to a match between Punk and Kane. The outcome is completely unimportant -- Kane won via gong distraction -- to the fact that Punk managed to steal Paul Bearer's urn. Yes, Punk is now running around Raw holding onto the mythical item.

There is no way this isn't going to be awesome.

The single match that didn't need much storyline is the match that is receiving the most interesting one. Now it becomes a mind game between Punk and 'Taker. Punk will come out with the urn, hold it high above his head, and claim it as his new championship.

And it will be up to The Undertaker to take it back come WrestleMania 29.

Trips! Lesnar! Secret! Stips! Battle! By! Proxy! Con! Fron! Tation!

Last week Brock Lesnar come out, destroyed the New Age Outlaws, and, through manager Paul Heyman, accepted Triple H's challenge for a match at WrestleMania 29. However, Lesnar has added a stipulation to the match. What is that stipulation, you may ask?

No one knows!

That's not entirely true. Lesnar and Heyman know what the stipulation is. It's up to Triple H to sign the contract, though, without fully knowing what he's getting into.

There is a lot of room for WWE to have some fun with this. A Loser Leaves Town Match or the equivalent will put a lot at stake. There will be a feeling that this match actually matters.

On the other hand, a No Disqualification or -- heaven forbid -- a Hell in a Cell Match would just be a complete waste of time. Everyone will act like this is the toughest thing either man has gone through.

When the first matchup between them was a No Disqualification, though, there's really not much further you can go.

So Triple H will come out tonight. He'll rant and rave and finally accept the terms. We'll get a good old fashion contract signing in the coming weeks, along with the great reveal. I doubt WWE will legitimately surprise anyone with the secret stipulation.

But who knows? Maybe we'll actually see the script flip down the road.

One! Last! Thing!

Wade Barrett will defend his Intercontinental Championship against Chris Jericho and The Miz in a Triple Threat Match. Because this is something that made sense to someone in the back.

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 Monday night gang in the live blog TONIGHT!

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Cageside Seats

You must be a member of Cageside Seats to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Cageside Seats. You should read them.

Join Cageside Seats

You must be a member of Cageside Seats to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Cageside Seats. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.