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Precap to the Jan. 21, 2013 episode of WWE 'Monday Night Raw', or the one before 'Royal Rumble'

Previewing the Jan. 21, 2013 episode of WWE "Monday Night Raw", the go-home show for "Royal Rumble"; featuring the final confrontation between WWE Champion CM Punk and The Rock, the continuing sneak attacks by The Shield, and the declarations of the wrestlers who will be participating in the Royal Rumble Match.

Punk! Rocky! Facts! Twinkie Tits! Brawls! WWE Championship!

Two weeks ago (Jan. 7) on Monday Night Raw, we were able to witness CM Punk and The Rock at their very best. The dueling promo between the pair was everything fans could ever hope for and then some. These are two men that were at the top of their respective games. Punk delivered a pipe bomb that we have not seen from him in quite some time. Rocky came out and weaved in cheap catchphrases and raw intensity in a way we haven't seen in years. I had such high hopes for this entire feud.

Then last week (Jan. 14) happened, and I feel a little less excited.

Maybe it was my expectations. Perhaps there was no way for them to repeat the magic. Or it could be that last week was a fluke, and the pair will be back in full form tonight.

I really hope it's the latter.

I'm not saying that last week was necessarily unenjoyable, although I can see both sides of that debate. What bothered me the most, is Rock showed us how he could do so much better than name calling and pandering. If you are the type of fan who enjoys seeing that, I can't hold it against you. We all have gimmicks we mark out for. There is nothing wrong with enjoying last week's Rock Concert.

It's just that we know Rock could do better, and he chose not to.

It could be as simple as he knows that is what the fans want. Give them something easy to digest for old time's sake. Let them get all excited about calling Paul Heyman fat and Vickie Guerrero a bee-yotch, It's a cheap pop and an easy sound-byte to throw up on YouTube and have the fans pass around on the Interwebs.

In the other corner, Punk seemed to have used up all of his mic time two weeks ago and paid for it last week. He made Brodus Clay tap out, and then went on a two-minute rant about "The Truth."

This was right after Punk performed a "shuck and jive" dance, which leads me to believe he is either completely oblivious to the meaning, or sincerely overestimates the fan's intelligence trying to get some heat.

It was a standard, paint-by-the-numbers promo hyping up the match at Royal Rumble. He builds up his own reign (428 days), admits that Rock is a worthy opponent, but in the same breath tells the world he will be emerging as the champion. It was nothing to complain about, but -- stop me if you've heard this before -- we've come to expect more from "The Best In The World."

We can hope, though, that tonight is a return of greatness.

With Royal Rumble right around the corner, I don't know how long these two will be attached to each other. Elimination Chamber means four other men will be involved. The spark Punk and Rock had, may not be enough to carry the additional weight. It's a safe bet that John Cena will be back in the title picture. Depending on which version of "The Dr. of Thuganomics" we get, this can either be really fun or really painful to watch. I wouldn't be shocked if Daniel Bryan and Kane enter the chamber, especially if they drop the Tag Team Championship to Team Rhodes Scholars at Royal Rumble. It then becomes an easy path to chart their breakup and blow off match at WrestleMania 29. That leaves one more spot available, although I am at a loss as to who will fill it.

Of course, this is wholly dependent on who wins the Rumble and what WWE's plans are for that person.

Again, though, I seem to be getting ahead of myself. Tonight we have CM Punk and The Rock. I don't know what to expect. I hope for the best, but always fear the worst. Rock is in the top three of the greatest performers in the history of WWE, and Punk would probably fit into the top ten. I don't understand the urge to be content with mediocrity.

I'm sorry, but I demand greatness from the main event. An "okay" promo, match, or show in the promotion's biggest time of year should be unacceptable.

When two wrestlers are claiming to be the best in the world, I think it's only fair that they prove it week-in and week-out.

Everything Else! Bullet Points!

  • The Miz is on a crash course to taking Antonio Cesaro's United States Championship, but he's certainly not doing his part to make me excited for it. Putting Ric Flair behind him can only do so much. It's a shame, too, because the version of The Miz that does the press tour and appears on the random television show is actually a pretty charismatic dude. I want to sit this guy down, shake him by his shoulders, and tell him to stop acting like a douchebag when he's supposed to be a good guy. For once in your pro wrestling career, Miz, show some genuine emotion. Stop acting like a pro wrestler and actually be a pro wrestler.
  • With this being the last Raw before Royal Rumble, expect plenty of talent to throw their metaphorical hats into the literal ring. It's always entertaining to watch the undercard pretend like they have a shot to win the whole thing. It's like a five-year old saying he wants to be an astronaut. You want to share his optimism, but it's all you can do to keep from laughing in his face.
  • World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio is currently doing his best to piss off The Big Show at every opportunity. This may not be the smartest strategy, but it sure as hell is entertaining to watch.

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!

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