I really didn't know how to start this. There's so much going on, so much to write about, but everything is so much longer than these couple paragraphs before I start writing about RAW. I'm writing about Laurinaitis, but that will be its own piece, not enough room here to completely discuss Laurinaitis' past, all his achievements and blunders – HUGE blunders – but that's not for here, for right now.
But after RAW last night I watched Rocky on Leno and was floored. I know many people are pissed that Rocky left us for Hollywood. I know many are further pissed that Rocky said he'd never leave us again, but he's actually been back only a small handful of times. I admit that I feel like I've been jerked around by him, and I was one who didn't fall in love with Rocky until much later in his wrestling career than most.
But then I saw him on Leno and something clicked. Rocky has more charisma in his little finger than we will ever personally be able to exude. Even without his family history of wrestling, Dwayne Johnson would have been a star. Maybe not a wrestling star, but a star of some sort. All you have to do is watch his face, his reactions, his body movements, he is so comfortable in front of a crowd, but it's even more than that. Many people are in front of crowds daily and are well liked, loved even, but most don't put forth the energy Rocky does. Just watching him on Leno made me smile, even though I have a cold and had been up since 6AM.
Rocky left me smiling after a short segment. I can't remember Cena's charisma leaving me smiling in that way. Heck, I don't remember a Cena segment that left me feeling half that happy, interested or even caring 1/10 as much. I completely understand why VKM wants Rocky to be part of the WWE and is willing to push Rocky's movies to keep him around as he is a huge draw. And while I don't get that same pop from Cena, I will admit that Cena seems more genuine in some ways. Kids want to believe in Cena. Many sick children wish for Cena. So while I want to be hard on Cena for being corny and goofy, every person is different and he has done so much for the WWE, Make-A-Wish and everything else he touches. I've not been big on Cena facing Rocky at WrestleMania, but I wasn't a big Hogan fan and look at what he did! Actually, I have to say I like Cena a lot more than I ever liked Hogan. Cena feels more real too me than Hogan every has. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm finally on board for their WrestleMania match.
In Ring Segment > B+
Triple H handled himself well in the ring, reminded us what happened last week, but didn't bore us in the process. He told us that he was going to wish Laurinaitis his best in his future endeavors, not wish Laurinaitis his best in doing his job on RAW! Everything was timed so wonderfully on RAW last week and set up so well for RAW this week. I'm so glad Trip is back on RAW as he adds such a volcanic spice to WWETV. I will admit that a few years ago when he was dominating the mic on RAW that I was increasingly annoyed by his long-winded speeches, but this role has been wonderful for him and I can't wait to see what happens from here.
Video > A
I split this from Trip's segment because it was so wonderfully executed. Again the WWE production crew stepped up to the line and showed why they're the best. Taker didn't have to show up live, but his presence was very obviously felt. While I know the fans want Taker live, but I understand that he needs to be in his best shape for WMXXVIII, so that might mean less of Taker live. Either way, this video was kick butt! Further, the way the camera zoomed in on Trip after – brilliant!
Big Show vs D-Bry > B-
I really wish this had been better. Yes, it pushed the storyline a bit and made D-Bry look like that much more of an ass, but it felt a little fake to me. I love D-Bry and love what he's doing as a heel, I love Big Show as face as it seems more him than when he's a monster heel, I even love how AJ is playing the scared little bird. What I didn't like was how plastic D-Bry felt. I don't know why he came off that way, and I could just be me, but he felt off. Maybe he had a bug or something. I'm going to chalk it up to a bad night and move on.
Winner – Big Show
Video > B
While Cena came across a bit plastic here, I think it worked well for what it was. Even better was this was the only time we saw Cena on RAW. He either wasn't there, or wasn't used, but either way, it was nice to have nothing more than a small Cena segment. He has been pushed down our throats, so this was refreshing. Honestly, I think it's kick butt that he's going to be waving the green flag at Daytona.
Video > C+
Of course it was the obligatory pre-PPV promo, but I loved how they showcased Edge as much as they did. As much as it was an Elimination Chamber promo, it was great how much was Edge. In some ways it made my heart hurt. I miss seeing him on WWETV.
In Ring Segment > D
That man just sucks on mic. His timing is off, his face doesn't match what he's saying and the whole thing just screams bad acting! But then he Tebowed! That was the last straw for me. I wanted to slap that bow tie off.
Otunga vs Sheamus > B
Yes, it was a squash match, but Sheamus is so over with the fans. They're loving Sheamus and are very behind him since winning the Royal Rumble Match. I've been behind him for a while now, so I completely understand. I can't wait to see what he does next. I also have to say that it sucks that Otunga has such a wonderful physique as he looks great, but he sure doesn't have the charisma, the ring skills or the mic skills. More proof that a great body alone doesn't make for a great wrestler!
Winner – Sheamus
In Ring Segment > B+
As much as the fans wanted to hear Jericho talk, I think he went on a bit too long with his tirade. He's so great on mic, did a wonderful job of calling other wrestlers posers and wannabes, but it was just a tiny bit too much. What was really wonderful was how Punk turned the tables on Jericho and how Jericho reacted to it. Jericho is such a pro, but Punk showed how he can go toe to toe with him. This is going to be a fantastic feud!
Wade & Cody vs Orton & Khali > B-
This would have been a great match, if only Khali wasn't in it. I will give Orton and Khali credit for their violent tagging. They sold it well and pushed their issues for the Smackdown Elimination Chamber Match. Sadly Khali is in that match, but VKM seems to think bigger is better. I wonder if he's compensating for something?
Winners – Orton & Khali
Video > C
Okay, I know they showed us the Rocky video from the Royal Rumble, but did they have to show Cena's as well? These videos are just too long.
8 Diva Tag Match > D-
Is flying off the corner all Tamina can do? I know it's part of what made her father famous, but I want more from her. She's beautiful and so different from the bikini models that most of the Divas are, but I want more! I did like Beth and the way she tagged the Bella into the ring, also the glare for Tamina. As long as this sets up for Beth and Kharma facing off, I won't complain too much.
Winners – Face Divas
Backstage Segment > B+
Laurinaitis plays his character so well. It's almost as if that's how Laurinaitis always is! Anyway, the dislike between Trip and Laurinaitis is obvious and not just scripted. Between 'humanistic' and threatening to flat line Laurinaitis, I thought the segment went off very well.
Backstage Segment > B-
I have to say that whoever did Laurinaitis' writing for this segment really dropped the ball. First he referred to Trip as hot headed, a brute, intimidating and without integrity. But then Laurinaitis said that the Board of Directors wouldn't want someone of was perceived as cowardly. So which is Trip? It felt wrong rather than Laurinaitis being two faced and idiotic. I'm willing to bet is was Laurinaitis' delivery that made it such so bad.
Justin stumbling over the description of the match was fun, but also shows how little Justin stumbles over his words. He's no Lilian, but he's really solid at his job, if a bit boring. I loved how everyone attacked Jericho after calling them all wannabes earlier in the show.
Actually, much of this match was really solid and they all worked really well together, except for what happened to R-Truth. From where I was sitting I didn't know if I could or should blame Miz, but Trip sure seemed to think Miz deserved some, if not all the blame. From what I was it seemed as though Miz was somehow thrown back when R-Truth came over the top. Like he was almost in the right spot, but then something happened. The biggest thing is that R-Truth is okay. I was quite worried as the thump of him hitting the floor was sickening. So, will we see Miz getting buried for a bit over this one?
I said before this match started that Jericho would win it. It was just obvious to push his growing feud with Punk that Jericho would have to be the last let into the Elimination Chamber Match. This is getting more and more interesting. I did think Jericho would stay out of the match more than he did. It was nice to see him get in there and mix it up with the younger guys. Okay, R-Truth is only a year younger than Jericho, but the push of his life has just come about. The rest of the guys in the match are in their early thirties, but they seem so much younger than Jericho for some reason. Either way, they made the match look solid.
The way Jericho mimicked and mocked Punk after the match was fabby. Absolutely Jericho, through and through!
Winner – Jericho
Backstage Segment > B
They had to have taped this segment earlier in the day, sometime before the Divas Match as Eve didn't look injured there. I'd expect some bruising or something from her nose being broken, but I could be wrong. Either way, I'm loving Kane! He's come back in a huge way. If this is Taker's last WrestleMania, I'm bummed that it doesn't look like he'll be facing Kane. If this isn't Taker's last WrestleMania, I hope they build Kane even bigger through 2012 so we can have the Brothers of Destruction facing off, one last time.
I went back to check the end of the show, just wanting to see if Eve's nose was obviously broken. In the process I stopped and watched Beth break her nose again. I have to say that Eve was not exactly where she should have been, but Beth looked to be working very sloppily there. Interestingly we didn't hear that Trip had brought her in to talk about breaking Eve's nose... But either way, watching it more closely, I saw things I didn't notice the first time through as I was typing. When Eve took the short clothesline, Jack Doan covertly checked on her. Eve kept her hand over her nose, even as it dripped blood. Jack threw up the X, but his body turned and it was not caught on camera – only his arms moving in that direction were caught. He then pulled out rubber gloves and started putting them on. Beth made a show of tagging in a Bella, so the camera was off Eve who was rolled out of the ring and to the floor behind the ring. Jack again threw up the X, called the three – blood drops could be seen if you looked at the mat - and was out of the ring and over to the side tending to Eve. I'm very impressed with how Doan handled that injury. Of course he was very professional, but just how he didn't make a big deal about it, didn't make a big scene and made sure the match, as well as Eve, were taken care of – he blew me away.