10 Thoughts: WWE Raw 2.4.13 (CM Punk, Chris Jericho, John Cena, The Shield)
1. I liked CM Punk’s promo here and his quick character switch into the “victim of the establishment”. Similar to when he is able to turn his babyface “Straight-Edge gimmick” to the heel version of it (“Straight-edge means I’m better than you.”); Punk was able to turn his babyface, anti-establishment character where he let his “work” bring him to the WWE Championship into a heel version of the same character just by adding a little paranoia and cheating here & there.
2. The suck up, “I’m now a babyface” promo from Alberto Del Rio was completely unnecessary. For the last 3 months or so, they’ve hot-shotted Del Rio’s babyface push and for the most part it’s gone over very well. People KNOW that Del Rio is now a babyface so what was the point of explaining why he’s embraced the fans? It was too much and to me, made Del Rio appear weak. I don’t want a champion that sucks up to me. I want a champion who can get it done in the ring and is entertaining while does it.
3. For those “newer” fans to the WWE or pro-wrestling in general, the induction of Bruno Sammartino into the WWE Hall Of Fame is amazing. For once, the WWE got it right when they said his induction is an “EPIC” announcement. Comparatively, Sammartino was bigger than Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin and John Cena combined and brought professional wrestling to the most eyes at that point in history. There was no one, in any of the territories, that could even be mentioned in the same breath as Bruno Sammartino until someone from down south nicknamed “The Nature Boy” came along during the twilight of Sammartino’s career. Bruno has said NUMEROUS times in the past that he doesn’t want anything to do with the WWE or the Hall Of Fame which adds to the impressive nature of this announcement. The fact that his induction is taking place in Madison Square Garden, the “Building Bruno Built”, really makes it feel like all the stars were aligned for both Sammartino and the WWE.
4. For a tag team division that seemed so promising a month ago, now it appears as if once again the WWE is tossing away all of the equity they built up over the last year. Rhodes Scholars is no more. Rumor is that Titus O’Neil is up for a push while his Primetime Players partner, Darren Young, is not. And now the World Tag Team Champions have gone from having a whole arena “hug it out” to building legitimate heat between Kane and Daniel Bryan, possibly leading to a WrestleMania match. We should know by now not to get our hopes up in something like the WWE revitalizing the tag team division, especially when it appeared too good to be true. Because now it seems like it was too good to be true.
5. The heat that Paul Heyman & Vickie Guerrero can garner together is unbelievable. I’m sitting here watching Raw and picturing a Heyman/Guerrero alliance during the failed ECW/WCW “Invasion” of 2001/2002 and honestly, those two characters could have actually saved the storyline despite the lack of big name talent.
6. If you didn’t know that wrestling was “fake” before that MizTV segment, seeing Michael Mizanin shove Brock Lesnar should eliminate any doubts you had.
7. Being able to see CM Punk vs Chris Jericho on Raw really is a treat. These two men are so creative and innovative on some of the simplest details of a wrestling match. They truly are masters of their craft and while I know both men don’t consider wrestling to be all that they are, they were absolutely born to be professional wrestlers and we are just lucky enough to be living through the prime of their respective careers.
8. It is absolutely unreal to see a Bruno Sammartino hype video on WWE Monday Night Raw but thank the wrestling gods that the WWE Hall Of Fame is getting a man who deserves a wing right next to Andre The Giant.
9. When was the last time the WWE Champion wasn’t even available to be on WWE TV for a week? No Raw. No SmackDown. The WWE Championship has gone Hollywood and for a kid who grew up during an era where being a wrestling fan was a taboo, it’s a little surreal.
10. Definitely not the best segment to close Raw but a logical one. The Shield have been infallible since their debut, absolutely destroying every top name without ever having to back down or look weak. With The Rock gone, John Cena needs a cause to rally around so why not pit your top stars against 3 men you strongly feel can be the future of your company?