Cena! Rock! One More Week! Lets Bring This Damn Thing Home! Reflection! Redemption! Revenge! WWE Championship!
Last week (March 25), John Cena and The Rock engaged in a friendly debate about winning, losing, and their match at WrestleMania 29. It was an exercise in redundancy, with four WWE Hall of Famers asking variations of the same question:
"This is a pretty big match coming up, isn't it?"
In between the mean mugging and and open threats, something fascinating emerged. For the first time, Cena opened up about why he lost. He got cocky. He wanted to end the match in the most disrespectful fashion.
Cena was going to hit the People's Elbow in The Rock's hometown.
We all know what happened. Rocky sprung up as Cena came off the ropes. He delivered a Rock Bottom, and Cena ate the three count.
Cena claimed he watched the match a hundred times. The face of WWE deviated from his game plan, and it cost him on the biggest stage. It's a fact that should eat at any competitor in any sport.
It's a damn shame we are only now getting this plot point 52 weeks following WrestleMania 28.
I know this has been said over and over, but it bares repeating one last time since Cena brought it up. His attitude this past month has been markedly different from the past eleven. I cannot buy his lost to The Rock last year has been weighing so heavily on his mind when he's running around being the same old goof he always his.
A character cannot grow if he does feel repercussions.
It's a travesty WWE had a brilliant angle lined up, only to screw it away with a full year of Cena being Cena. "The Doctor of Thuganomics" oscillated between major losses and picking up revenge victories. He left every feud better than when he started. If his life was so ruined by losing to The Rock, it certainly didn't show in the ring or any of his promos.
There was a way to make this great. Following his defeat to The Rock, Cena goes on to have a horrible losing streak. Every feud he enters, he is destroyed. He becomes more and more desperate with each passing month. Questions start popping up about whether he has it anymore. Fans wonder if he's the same man.
The Royal Rumble goes down. Cena wins. He faces CM Punk for the #1 Contendership. He finally picks up a victory over "The Straight Edge Savior" when it matters. He walks into New York -- okay, technically New Jersey -- as a man on a mission. It could have been one of the grandest stories ever told.
Everything was set up perfectly, and WWE screwed the damn thing up because of it's inability to commit to any type of long form storytelling.
Instead we are told to simply forget the parts that don't fit the narrative. That win over Brock Lesnar? Never happened. Failed cash-in of the Money in the Bank contract? That happened, but we'll pass by the whole interference by The Big Show thing. Yes, it's true Cena lost a lot of matches against CM Punk. But lets not focus on the fact almost none of them were clean, and Cena picked up the pinfall over Punk on the go-home Raw before Survivor Series on Nov. 12, 2012.
On top of all of that, we got to witness Cena closing out most shows and receiving the most screen time of anyone on the roster.
WWE is lying to us, and honestly I don't appreciate it.
So here we stand. One full year removed from WrestleMania 28. One full week until WrestleMania 29. John Cena will win to complete his "redemption" story. The Rock is not an opponent, but simply an obstacle in the way.
Admittedly, the metaphor of a "rock" standing in our hero's way is a little heavy-handed, even for the always subtle WWE.
Tonight will be the last time these two stand face-to-face before the main event on April 7. Last week John Cena tried to AA The Rock, only for it to be reversed into a Rock Bottom. Will we see Cena actually land his finisher on the go-home show? Perhaps Rocky will once again get the upper hand? Or we could always expect to see another cliche stare down with the WrestleMania sign hanging in the background.
No matter what happens, though, there will always be a lingering feeling this showdown could have been far greater than what it is.
Punk! Taker! Heyman! The Urn! Sneak Attacks! Carcinogenic Hands! Mind Games!
CM Punk and Paul Heyman continue to harass The Undertaker by messing around with the sacred urn. Punk made it clear last week -- if anyone was confused -- this was the urn Paul Bearer carried around while he managed Taker, and not a container which contained Bearer himself.
It's a subtle but important difference.
Right now this angle is probably the best part of Raw. Punk and Heyman are money on the mic. It's almost magical every time they are together. With the pressure off, 'Taker is allowed to do what he does best --
Be silent. Be creepy. And let the "gong" do all the talking.
It's a shame Punk vs. 'Taker has been overshadowed by the other two main events and will cease after WrestleMania 29. There is a feeling that, if this had received more time, all parties could have made it into something very special.
Imagine if Punk and 'Taker could have incorporated their 2009 feud over the World Heavyweight Championship. A call back to their history, Punk could have blamed Undertaker for taking away something special from him, so he was only returning the favor. I have no doubt Punk and Heyman would have come up with something brilliant to add onto the angle, and Taker has been in the business long enough to have a few good ideas of his own.
When you're only getting a single segment a week, and only a couple of weeks to build the match, I understand the necessity of keeping things as simple as possible.
CM Punk and Paul Heyman will continue to shock the audience with their mistreatment of The Undertaker's most sacred possession. Taker will continue to be pissed off, and will do everything he can to get the urn back. With "The Deadman" getting the best of "The Straight Edge Savior" last week, and this being the go-home show, I wouldn't be shocked if Punk emerges victorious in any physical altercation.
We all are pretty certain how the match is going to end. But this has still been the best part of Raw on "The Road to WrestleMania."
Trips! Lesnar! Heyman! Fight! For! Your! Life! One! Last! Con! Fron! Ta! Tion!
Triple H come out last week and gave a relatively straight forward about his match with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 29. This was going to be a fight for his career, but Trips is always ready for a good fight. Again, nothing we haven't heard from the COO before.
And then he kicked Wade Barrett in the balls. Which is always fun to watch.
Paul Heyman sat down for an interview on last Friday's SmackDown (March 29) and laid out what was really an excellent promo. He told Josh Mathews it was not just Triple H's wrestling career that was on the line.
It was his entire pro wrestling career.
Triple H would be permanently removed from the ring. He would be forced to watch his employees do the job he used to love. He would grow to hate them, resent them, be filled with jealousy. The locker room would feel his disdain.
And they would turn against him.
"The King of Kings" would feel the wrath of a coup. He would be removed from the front office.
And then he would have nothing.
It was wonderfully done, and was a little strange that it was left on SmackDown.
Don't worry if you missed it, though. I'm sure WWE will make sure you'll see it half a dozen times before Sunday.
I'm not quite sure what will happen tonight. We very well could have seen the last of Triple H and Brock Lesnar on our televisions. With The Rock vs. John Cena as the focus, and CM Punk vs. The Undertaker needing a serious final push, WWE may be content with simply showing recaps.
Or we could get a massive brawl with everyone left bleeding. You can never be sure with these types of things.
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!