1. Last night’s Monday Night Raw was the best weekly show in a long time. The show started off hot out of the gate, with the highly publicized Paul Heyman v. Vince McMahon “fight.” Paul Heyman initiated the fighting with a cheap shot on Vince, and started to beat Vince with his own crutch. Vince regained the upper hand and had Heyman on the ground when Brock Lesnar’s music hit. Lesnar came out and measured up Vince for half a minute when Triple H’s music hit and he slowly made his way to the ring as Vince made his escape. Lesnar and Triple H brawled outside the ring for a little bit until Triple H sent Lesnar into the ring post, busting him open. Lesnar gained an advantage and slammed Triple H onto the announce table. He got Triple H into the ring and prepared to attack him with a steel chair when Triple H hit him with a spinebuster. Triple H hit Lesnar with the chair and Lesnar escaped the ring and made his way up the entrance ramp, covered with blood and grinning.
This seemingly sets up a rematch between the two at WrestleMania. I’m not exactly thrilled at having a rematch, especially when it’s pretty apparent that Triple H will win, and I really don’t think there is a point for this match. However, I don’t think it’s as much of a disaster as many people are saying, and this match could bring the physicality to WrestleMania that might be missing with the Undertaker’s absence. The match also featured some unintentional comedic relief, as Triple H apparently relieved himself in the middle of the altercation.
2. Next, Dolph Ziggler and Ryback put on a decent match. Ryback wins despite interference from Big E Langston and AJ. There’s not much to comment on here. This match brings another loss for Ziggler, which just adds on to his 2013 woes. Creative is making Ziggler look very weak heading into WrestleMania, but we shouldn’t be surprised as this isn’t the first time a Money in the Bank winner has received such treatment. I just wish they would do better by Ziggler, as he’s a tremendous talent.
3. Mark Henry defeats Khali in a standard squash match. I’m glad to see they finally just fed Khali to Henry and didn’t make them WrestleMania opponents. This does leave some doubt as to who Henry will face at MetLife Stadium though. He doesn’t have too much of a history with anyone else on the roster, other than Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan, who are both seemingly involved in feuds of their own. Big Show is an option, but they are both heels and Big Show hasn’t been on TV in a few weeks, so Mark Henry’s WrestleMania opponent seems up in the air soon.
4. Randy Orton defeats Antonio Cesaro in a relatively short match. Orton hit Cesaro with a sweet looking RKO when Cesaro tried to come at Orton from the top rope. Nothing much to say about this one; these two won’t be involved in any storyline any time soon. Cesaro does seem to be on a bit of a losing skid lately, which will need to be reversed to make him look strong heading into WrestleMania, likely against the Miz.
5. Sheamus makes fun of Wade Barret, which is essentially an opportunity to air a preview commercial of Dead Man Down during air time. Barret tries to attack Sheamus but misses, and Sheamus misses a brogue kick. It was posited that these two could fight for the Intercontinental title at WrestleMania as they have some history, but Sheamus also might be involved in a match with the Shield.
6. R Truth defeats Cody Rhodes. Damien Sandow attacks Truth but Truth gets the upper hand. Not much to say here. These guys will all likely be involved in the undercard of WrestleMania, or possibly the speculated Money in the Bank ladder match.
7. Team Hell No defeats the Prime Time Players. Daniel Bryan was blindfolded and did close to nothing in the match. Kane won the match with his left hand tied behind his back. Some pretty solid comedy between Kane and Bryan. Expect them to split sometime soon, either before WrestleMania setting up a match there, or at the Show of Shows itself.
8. The Shield addresses the crowd in the ring. They talk about their accomplishments and their three huge victories. Sheamus comes out on the entrance ramp and tells them to come fight him. As Reigns and Ambrose come out of the ring towards Sheamus, Randy Orton hits an RKO on Rollins and retreats into the crowd. This seems to set up some kind of match with Sheamus and Orton against the Shield. This makes sense as Orton previously had no match and no feud with anyone else recently so this gives him a good spot for WrestleMania.
9. Jack Swagger defeats the Miz with the Patriot Act. Well it looks like WWE is going to stick it out with Swagger and his title match. It seems like they could have found a better person for this gimmick and for Zeb to work with. Swagger is just so underwhelming on the mic. I still think he can deliver a quality match with Alberto del Rio though.
10. The main event of the night lived up to the hype. John Cena defeats CM Punk via pinfall after an Attitude Adjustment. This was the best match that’s been on free TV in a LONG time. Each wrestler weathers through several finishers, including a powerbomb by Cena and a piledriver by Punk. Cena won by delivering a botched hurricanrana followed by an AA. This would have been an excellent match by pay per view standards. Hell, it would have been an excellent WrestleMania match. But WWE capped off the best Raw in months by giving us this gem.
This match does have several unfortunate aftereffects though. This means we will more than likely be seeing a Rock v. Cena rematch at WrestleMania. Yes, the most boring WrestleMania main event in recent memory will be played out again this year! This also leaves Punk without an opponent for WrestleMania, and any new opponent at this point, even if it’s the Undertaker, will seem forced. Given Punk’s comments about being god and being immortal, it might make sense for Undertaker to challenge him, although Undertaker’s status for WrestleMania is still doubtful at best. I’m still holding out hope that we can avoid the most boring rematch of a lifetime and Punk will be inserted in a triple threat with Cena and Rock, but that also seems unlikely at this point.
Whatever transpires henceforth, we are sure to have an exciting and dramatic road to WrestleMania.