While I know Richard had a bit of a cow about how certain things went down at WrestleMania, I'm not going to listen to 'Richard Reacts' until after I've said my peace about WrestleMania 28. Further, I'm not going to read any more of the reactions from last night's RAW until I've completely stated my business on Sunday night.
First off, I was very upset about what happened to D-Bry at the hands of Sheamus. I was expecting this match to easily rival Punk vs Jericho, but then 18 seconds! I really hoped that this was VKM's April Fool's Day prank, but when Rocky pinned Cena and it was that late in the night, I knew it was no joke and I was crushed. But then last night on RAW I saw something I little expected. Yes, the Miami fans chanted "Daniel Bryan" through the rest of WrestleMania, but it was the fans on RAW who sealed the deal.
I honestly never thought that D-Bry's "YES!" would turn from such a negative to such a positive. I'm stating now that D-Bry's "YES!" is going to be big – HUGE. The way the fans in Miami acted last night was the way the fans reacted to Austin 3:16 after KOTR (by the way, Austin debuted his stunner for the first time in that KOTR match – did you know that?). If not 3:16, then "YES!" will absolutely be as big as "What?", if not bigger! Anyway, I don't see any way that D-Bry is going to be able to stay heel after everything that went down in Miami. I wonder if the fan reaction is what TPTB had expected, or are they scrambling to change things up to give the fans what they want?
Then again TPTB handed Team Johnny the win. I know things will be changed up and Laurinaitis plays a most hated heel, but will he be taking Eve in as his concubine? Will Triple H take the upper hand and force Laurinaitis out? And will Trip force him out of his Head of Talent Relations seat? Or will Trip force him out of the company? I will admit that I'm not completely thrilled with Laurinaitis, but he sure it a solid heel to lead RAW and Smackdown. The shows are usually better with a heel in the hot seat and others trying to unseat him.
I was let down by Kane vs Orton. I really expected more from that match because both of those men are better than that match. I hope they find a place for Kane as he deserves to climb to a high note, rather than be stuck with crap storylines because there's no place for him and someone is injured. Orton is set in his role in the company, but Kane is getting older. I want to see him finish, whenever that is, on a high note. Glen more than deserves that.
I thought it was about time Big Show got his WrestleMania moment. So many people were worried that Cody would be buried if he lost the IC Title, but I disagree. Some people didn't understand when I said that Cody dropping the belt could elevate him in the company. I think after his long Title reign Cody could step up into a main event role. After his feud with Big Show is over, the sky is the limit for Cody. I believe this is a good thing.
I have to admit that the Divas match wasn't as bad as it could have been. Kelly looked better than she had and Maria left it all out there. If I didn't know she had two broken ribs, I wouldn't have noticed. Giving Eve a stink face in white pants wasn't the brightest idea as Maria ended up with bronzer all over her bum (it wasn't Eve's spray tan). Of course I'm cranky that Maria got the pinfall on Beth, but I pretty much expected that to happen as she was one of the outside 'stars' on WrestleMania, and the WWE wants to stay in good standings with DWTS. Hopefully Kia will be back soon (when she's ready) and we'll see some some serious ring work from some of the Divas.
Punk vs Jericho was great. I really loved this match, they were both just wonderful, but I fear that long term this match could be forgotten. It should not be forgotten, but it could very well be overshadowed by Cena vs Rocky and Taker vs Trip with HBK. Punk and Jericho gave us a great wrestling match. Because of this match WrestleMania 28 was more than just two emotional matches between big names, it was actually a wrestling PPV.
Richard has said for the past year that Cena had to win this match. I agreed with him much of the time, that is until this past week. I just had a feeling that Rocky was going to goo over. I don't know what they're going to do from here, but as long as Cena doesn't wander around and wallow in self pity, I'll be happy.
I left the best for last. Taker, Trip and HBK (yes, HBK, because he added so much to this match – physically and emotionally) left it all in the ring and ave us yet another match to remember, to love them all for. Early in the match some of the guys in the Live Blog were complaining that the match looked exactly as their match did last year at WrestleMania. By the end almost everyone was quiet, in awe. Those three men left everything in the ring and gave use a night to remember. After it was all said and done, after they wore each other out physically, mentally, and emotionally (seeing HBK sitting in the corner almost in tears made me forget that this is scripted), they did something I never thought I'd see. Yes, Michelle McCool put her foot down and got together with Steph to make Trip and Taker talk, get over their issues, but I still never thought I'd see this. HBK and Taker peeling Trip off the mat and marching him up the ramp was one thing, more than I thought I'd see, but the hug between the three of them had tears in my eyes. That was a beautiful moment that will live on in my mind. It's a WrestleMania moment, a wrestling moment that will forever bring a smile to my face.
If you missed my WrestleMania Predicts, you missed my silliness running full on. I'm not saying I will be doing this every week, but the huge between Trip, Taker and HBK inspired me to take one more picture before packing up my little 'set' that I had been using.
Backstage Segment > B
People Power? Is he serious? That is almost as bad as the Adamle Original! Of course Laurinaitis and Punk are going to continue to butt heads. Hopefully Punk will be allowed some freedoms and can really drop some pipe bombs. Their arguing could help keep the post-WrestleMania lull from being painfully dull.
In Ring Segment > A
Rocky held those fans in the palm of his hand. Having the first RAW after WrestleMania in Miami, many of the fans there had to have gone to WrestleMania, but I'm sure many more did not go to WrestleMania and were just wild because of it. Those fans were there to have a great time and they showed it. I believe those Miami fans changed up a lot of things, the flow and direction of promos and storylines, just through their chants. I have to say I loved Rocky self deprecation when it came to the CFL. It takes some stones to be that honest. I also really liked after his segment when he took that pink signed and kissed the girl on the cheek with a small hug. It's hard not to melt at Rocky's smile. My daughter even stayed to watch RAW with me last night and swooned a bit at Rocky's smile.
Rocky seemed to be handling things pretty well in the ring until D-Bry's "YES!" chants started. He really seemed confused about why they were chanting "YES!" with their fingers pointing to the sky. I have most of the wrestlers' names programmed in to automatically capitalize so I can keep up writing the RAW play-by-play. By the end of this segment I had to program it in for "YES!" to automatically pop up like that with only a couple of keystrokes.
The other part of this segment that bothered me (meaning other than Rocky not having a clue where the "YES!" came from), was Rocky saying he wants to be Champ one more time. If that man doesn't come back and spend some serious time in the ring, on RAW and showing the fans he means it, that he wants to be back, then I will be livid if he's strapped. I hope that Rocky got the taste of it at all WrestleMania and feels that need to return on a regular basis, as he did look good in there and didn't appear to have any troubles stepping right back in that role. If he was actually good to his word, then I'd have no trouble with Rocky being strapped, but I'll have to see it to believe it.
Videos > B-
I'm going to lump all of the short Cena videos and the videos full of WrestleMania stills into one or this will be considerably longer. They shoved these videos into every little nook they could find. While I do wish they'd taken that time and done something else with it, but I understand why they did what they did. They had to push Cena's absolute need to beat Rocky, and push WrestleMania to get the buyrate even higher. I can't say it added much to the show, but it didn't deter too much for me. I'm giving it a better than average grade because of the production work that went into it all. WWE has an amazing production team.
US Title Triple Threat Match > B-
I knew that Santino would retain because Dolph and Swagger wouldn't let each other win the strap. Other than the horrible double team move they hit on Santino, this match was not good. Actually, post match was better than the actual match for me. I wasn't expecting Brodus to come out to stand by Santino, but I can see where they might be going with this. Brodus and Santino together could be hysterical, and a force to be reckoned with. Swagger was a smart man not to challenge the Funkasaurus, but I wasn't shocked that Dolph rushed right in and was flattened for it. Who can keep from giggling when watching Santino and Brodus dancing?
Winner – Santino
Lord Tensai & Sakamoto vs Alex Riley > B-
I will admit that I had a love/hate feeling for Matt Bloom when he was Prince Albert, then the A-Train. I thought he had potential, but all that body hair and all that baby oil made me twitchy. Don't get me wrong, I like bald guys with body hair (tmi), but it was the way he'd come out all greased up that tweaked me out. The most I expected from T&A was Trish's t&a, but she stepped up and really proved that she was more than eye candy. From everything I've been reading about Bloom, he's stepped up during his time in Japan and proved that he's also much more than just a pretty face.
My daughter Ellie had only heard about A-Train, had never seen him. She was very distracted and thought that a nipple ring and his facial piercings could be painful and possibly dangerous in the ring. I explained that he's had the facial piercings from back when he was A-Train and she was surprised. We also spent much of the match trying to figure out if the characters written across his head and side of his face were actual tattoos, or just Sharpie. Compared to the ink on his body and the back of his head, the characters were a different color. By the end of the match the characters on his face had smeared a bit in the sweat. She was so distracted by Bloom's piercings and Sharpie work that she didn't pay much attention to his ring work. That shows me that casual fans might not be watching his skills in the ring because of his look. Personally, I thought the ring work in this match looked a bit sloppy. I can't say if it was Bloom or Riley who made the work look that way, but before Riley left he was known for sloppy ring work. I'm not going to place the blame on either of them as it was a big night, neither have worked a WWE ring in a VERY long time, and that arena was insane last night. To top it all off, that was not the right night for Bloom to debut. Everything was working against him, so I'm glad Taker is behind him as that debut could have killed a younger wrestler's push.
Winner Lord Tensai
Punk vs Henry > B+
There was no way that Punk was going to lose this match clean. I called a count out when he was heading to the ring and selling his back issues. Honestly, I wasn't overly impressed with this match. Actually, I thought it was funny that people were chanting "YES!" for Punk. I'd love to see a feud between D-Bry and Punk for the WWE Championship. To me that would be a feud that could bring the house down and I think this is the perfect time for it as both are really over with the fans right now.
Henry, on the other hand, need someone a bit bigger to work the ring with. Punk is good at making other wrestlers look good, but he was struggling after his WrestleMania match with Jericho. While the fins were wild, this wasn't the best of matches. I have to say I felt good about calling this match before it started, but I'm running on a high from my WrestleMania Predicts results. I also want to mention that Punk was bleeding from the mouth after this match. He covered well in the next segment, but he did spit out a chunk with blood and had blood on the tape on his hands, but he hid it well when cowering from Jericho.
Winner – Henry via Countout
In Ring Segment > A
I had to split this off from the match as it was so much better than the actual match. I'm sure some people will say Jericho went too far with his bottles of JD, but it brought me back to the grittier days of wrestling when they actually went there, not just skirted around the issue. This is the Jericho that I love and this is the type of thing I love him for. I know there will be a lot of people mad about how drinking, alcoholism and straight edge are being handled, but I'm not bothered. Almost everyone here knows I lost my brother who was an alcoholic and drug addict to an overdose, and I understand that this is a storyline.
Jericho did a great job of 'hiding' the actual name of the booze, but showing off the label enough for people to know what's supposed to be in the bottle. Actually, it was Ellie who told me that it was a Jack Daniels label. Not sure what that says about me and my daughter (25). But there was a couple of big problems in this segment. I have to thank Ellie for noticing them both for me. The first being Jericho slipping on the 'booze' from the first bottle. I was looking at my screen and typing, so I missed it at first. I will say Jericho handled it well. The second problem she pointed out was with the second bottle. We went back to watch it a couple times. Either they left the 'booze' in the sugar bottle too long or Jericho squeezed it too hard because it shattered a foot away from Punk's head. Jericho and Punk sold it well, but the was an obvious blunder.
In Ring Segment > C+
I love Sheamus, but he didn't seem to know how to handle the fans being all for D-Bry. Sheamus did not seem his happy-go-lucky self in this segment, so maybe they are changing him up a bit so he's not so Cena, but he felt rather flat to me. I also think they need to change up ADR. He has gone from early on interesting to downright boring. I had hoped they'd change up his character while he was gone, sadly they didn't do that. For me the best parts of this segment was the fans shouting "YES!" and ADR eating a brogue kick. I really don't want to see this feud. I think Cody should be going after Sheamus and the World Heavyweight Championship.
Backstage Segment > A+
D-Bry was one of the top three most over wrestlers of the night, and he didn't even say a word. Heck, he never even made it out for the fans to see him! D-Bry played that segment perfectly, and I have to give huge props to AJ who has been playing her role to a tee!
Cody vs Kofi > B
Okay, I'm ready for Cody's feud with Big Show to be over. Time for Cody to take that next big step. I would much rather see Cody going after Sheamus and his newly won World Heavyweight Championship than ADR. That could be great for both Sheamus and Cody. I hate to say this, but send ADR to Superstars to develop more layers to his personality. He's been a one note wonder. Cody, on the other hand has changed and grown so much that he's ready for that next push. And while I adore Kofi, his character also needs to be changed up before he takes that next step. Then again, why not Kofi, Cody or both winning at MITB? Just a thought...
Winner – Kofi
Backstage Segment > C-
Abraham Washington? Really? Really? As if he's not annoying enough, then he screwed up a line! A little muscle behind Henry's hustle? Oops! Sorry, I am NOT an AW fan at all. If Henry needed a manager, why not Tony Atlas? Why not a newly pissed off Teddy Long? Then again, why does Henry have to have an African American manager? Or is his junk food problem getting to be too much and they need someone to run roughshod on his Twinkie habit? Anyone know if AW knows anything about nutrition?
Stage Segment > D+
If Eve was able to stay in character and was believable, then this character would work, but I just don't see it. Maybe if she glombs onto Laurinaitis, as she seemed to be hinting at, then she'll look better and be more believable. Being next to Laurinaitis almost anyone is believable. Well, anyone but Otunga!
Miz vs Ryder > B
I really liked the edgier, more pissed off Ryder. It didn't help him in this match, but it could in the long run. I'm interested in seeing what they're going to do with Ryder next. Hopefully they don't drop the ball now that Eve has dropped him for Laurinaitis. I hadn't realized until this match, actually, hadn't even noticed, that Miz hasn't lost at WrestleMania. He and JoMo lost the Tag Team Titles in a dark match at WrestleMania XXV, but he hasn't lost an actual televised WrestleMania match. I really hope they're not going to cultivate this as a streak. Other than that, I actually enjoyed this match. It was short, but hard hitting. Guess Miz's getting past his rough time? I actually really enjoyed it, and I'm shocked to say that!
Winner – Miz
In Ring Segment > B- & A+
I really wanted to slap some feeling into Cena last night. He was so blah. If I wasn't working so hard to get his every word and nuance down, I would have hit the Ff button and missed it all. While Stacy was worried that Cena would wallow in self pity after his loss, I think this was worse. He was matter-of-fact about the loss and just kept going on and on about it! Straight up, Cena bored me! It was the fans and Ellie spazzing out that kept me interested in what we were watching. Ellie doesn't watch wrestling with me very much these days since she doesn't live with me, but her first WrestleMania she watched with me was XX. It was that weekend that we first really bonded and it wasn't long after that when she came to live with me. For me that will always be the biggest Mania. We still comment on 'smuggling plumbs', which Cena said about Big Show and his singlet. She fell in love with both Eddie and Benoit that night. She didn't understand why the fans were going so wild when that GONG hit and Paul Bearer's voice came through. But she also remembers that last match between Brock and Goldberg before both left the WWE. As I hadn't told her about the recent changes in Brock's status with the UFC and possibly the WWE. When the fans started chanting, "We want Brock!" she was very confused. She asked what they were chanting and was shocked when I told her that it was Brock.
I had to wait until after RAW was over to explain to Ellie why Brock was on RAW, and she was floored. She truly believed that after the way he left the company, the 10 year no compete clause, and the lawsuit that came about when he did compete, that there was no way the WWE and Brock would cross paths again.
Back to the actual segment, the only thing that Cena did that really thrilled me was Cena giving D-Bry props for "YES!" I was really bored by Cena and the fans were crazy – that seems like it was almost impossible, but he did it! At one point, during a lull in Cena's boring drivel, Cena was spoken to by someone outside of the ring. If they didn't tell him to hurry and get to it, I don't know what they said. The other thing that Cena did that was totally boring and really annoyed me, when Brock had him up for the F5, Cena laid there like a sack of poo. Don't get me wrong, I'm not hating on Cena as a whole, just this particular segment. Yes, I'm playing armchair quarterback, but I was hoping Cena wouldn't be uber pathetic – no such luck.
I will step up and fully admit that I was wishy-washy on Brock coming back. I understand why VKM wanted him – big name, became bigger and has more media backing because of his time in UFC – but there's so many other wrestlers who I believe in so much more. Who's space will he be taking with his return? On the other hand, I'm bored with Cena facing almost everyone on the roster, so this could be a good thing. I will admit that Brock impresses the heck out of me in what he's gone through with his health. I have struggled with my guts my whole life. That Brock ran at his speed with a perforation in his intestines that could have been there for up to a year, I'm floored! I know how bad I feel on a good day, I can't imagine how he could be spending time in the gym and fighting through all that.
Normally we joke around, especially in the Live Blog, "Cena wins, we riot!" Well, for the first time, I was truly worried that if Brock didn't come out, then the Miami fans might riot. Short of WrestleMania, I have not see a WWE crowd that crazy in well over five years. I think a big part of the fans at RAW was because of how big this WrestleMania was, and the possibility of Brock's return. Now, can the WWE keep fans this wild about the shows?
While Rocky's declaration on last year's post-WrestleMania RAW brought so much to the WWE, I think Brock's return on top of Rocky stating he wants to be Champ, maybe we're seeing a turn around in the industry. I'm not willing to say that it's happening, and I'm not willing to hold my breath just yet, but I see the possibilities and the momentum. Guess I'd better find myself a Brock Lesnar action figure!