Rock! Cena! Finally! This! [explicit]! Has Come Back! To Raw! Two More Weeks! WWE Championship!
Did you know, dear Cagesiders, WWE has a championship that bears its name? And it's supposed to be a pretty big deal! And were you also aware, loyal Cagesiders, a certain naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals is the holder of said championship? Because this "Rock" seems to have been misplaced as WWE makes its way to New York/New Jersey.
And yes, my Cagesiders, I am aware I've used this bit before. But if WWE is going to throw out the same crap week in and week out, I feel like I should get a little bit of leeway.
The Rock will finally return to Monday Night Raw after a two week absence. It's completely understandable why he was gone, though. Who can blame Rocky for not giving up the opportunity to plug WrestleMania on The Tonight Show?
Oh? He didn't even bring the belt? Of course he didn't. Because that would make perfect sense.
And The Rock is apparently under the control of WWE Logic.
Yes, I completely understand Rocky probably didn't have much of a say in the matter. Paramount Pictures most likely wanted to keep the cross promotion between G.I. Joe and WWE to a minimum. It's stupid as hell, but this is what happens when tone deaf suits are in charge of these things. As much as I want to, it's probably unfair to criticize The Rock for being handcuffed in what he could hype.
But by Zeus, this is the exact reason why the promotion put the belt on him. To hype the damn thing to the lapsed fans. That is how WWE sold the title change, and it sucks Rock is not following through on his end of the bargain.
The worst part -- the absolutely worst part -- is Rocky can't even show up on Monday nights to build up for his own damn match.
Either The Rock shows up on Raw, cuts a promo, Rock Bottoms someone, and is his nostalgic self, or he does the tour circuit and promotes WrestleMania 29 to an outside audience. This is the WWE Champion for crying out loud.
I absolutely love the hype video WWE put together for The Rock vs. John Cena. But man, I've seen the damn thing so many times I could recite it word for word.
Luckily, tonight shall be different! The Rock returns to Raw with the WWE Championship. Him and Cena going face to face tends to be very hit and miss, but at the very least it's better than nothing.
Right? Please tell me that's right.
Punk! Taker! Sacred Ashes! No Disrespect! The Streak!
When you give Punk an inch, he's sure as hell is going to take a mile.
Last week (March 18), CM Punk did his best Harlem Globetrotters impersonation with Paul Bearer's sacred urn, juggling it around to the horror of The Undertaker. It was a hair raising scene, putting Taker and the WWE Universe on edge. There was no way Punk didn't have complete control over the urn. It wasn't like he would actually let it fall to the floor.
Yet fall it did. And of course Punk punctuated it by telling Taker, "no disrespect."
Just brilliantly done.
It's unclear whether or not Bearer's ashes are actually in the urn, or if it was what the one he carried around while he was The Undertaker's manager. Or it could be the urn Bearer used to carry around, only now it has his ashes in it. In any case, the end result is the same.
Taker is pissed.
Punk using the "Best in the world" gimmick and claiming he would end the streak would have been a solid build. But it is undeniable there would have been something missing. Something that takes an average angle to the next level.
This is exactly what was needed to make this feud great. However, it is unfortunate the circumstances surrounding this situation.
Pro wrestling and death have always had an uneasy relationship. It is well documented this sport ends people's life earlier than it should. Hell, it was just a little while ago (Sept. 10, 2012) Jerry "The King" Lawler almost died at ring side when he suffered a heart attack. The connection between Lawler's health scare and his in ring performance earlier that night will never be fully understood. But the fact is he was minutes from passing away on screen.
But this is entertainment. The goal is to never scare anyone, but to keep people tuning in and talking. So why not incorporate it into the show?
It's interesting to note that CM Punk and Paul Heyman was heavily involved in the Lawler angle. It was Punk who "The King" wrestled earlier that evening. And it was Paul Heyman who would pretend to have a heart attack of his own when Lawler returned to television. There's two have no fear of consequences, no hesitation at using death itself to entertain.
Really, it's only fitting these two are tied to Paul Bearer's passing.
Paul Bearer the character has died at least a half dozen times during his tenure within WWE. This, of course, is vastly different. It was not Bearer but William Moody that died. When a character passes, people can -- usually -- handle it far easier than when it is the man that moves on.
Some people are uncomfortable with death, for a variety of reasons, and pro wrestling is not a medium of subtlety. When they see death in WWE, their reflex is to cringe and back away. And that's perfectly okay. It's wrong for anyone to try and convince a fan they should enjoy something that it is impossible for them to find entertainment in.
For others, though, death is simply a part of life. As someone who has personally been surrounded by death -- and has drifted close to the darkness myself -- I find comfort in this angle. Even when our bodies wear out and our soul moves beyond this realm, we can still be remembered by our friends, family, and fans.
For me, it's a comforting thought in a world of chaos and uncertainty.
I hope people can take solace in the fact that Paul Bearer's family has given the okay for this angle to move forward. And I hope that fans can recognize that this is a television show, one made to shock and entertain.
Sometimes wins and losses don't matter in pro wrestling; it is all about the journey traveled. For The Undertaker vs. CM Punk, the outcome is pretty much known.
But by Zeus, this is brilliant television. And the ability to turn a horrible situation into something greater deserves our recognition and -- in my opinion -- our respect.
Trips! Lesnar! Heyman! No Holds Bared! Forced Retirement! Poss! I! Ble! Con! Fron! Tation!
Last week Triple H signed a contract, sight unseen, agree to face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 29. As a future attorney, I can say that it is incredible dumb to sign anything without reading it all the way through.
But this is pro wrestling, and common rational rarely takes precedent.
So what was the stipulation Trips had agreed to? Why, it was a No Holds Bared Match with the "Ass Kicking War Machine." And if HHH lost said match?
He would be forced to retire! Because he was so damn active these past few months years.
The obvious joke is that Triple H has come out of retirement just to be involved in a match where he might have to retire. On top of that, there is really no difference between the No Disqualification Match the pair had at SummerSlam (Aug 19) and a No Holds Bared Match.
It's a straight up rematch, and don't let anyone tell you differently.
So what will happen tonight between these two? Well, on March 4, Triple H challenged Brock Lesnar. Then on the following week (March 11), Brock Lesnar responded. And then last week, we had the traditional contract signing. By checking my pro wrestling almanac...
We'll probably get a hype video for the match without either of them showing up. Because that's going to sell the match.
One! More! Thing!
Did you know, dear Cagesiders,
Okay, that joke has clearly run its course.
AJ Lee has "dated" Daniel Bryan, Kane, and now Dolph Ziggler. These three men will be in a match for the Tag Team Championship come WrestleMania. This is a fact that will be repeated over and over.
Don't be expected to be handled delicately.
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!