ThunderStruck: WWE Raw Analysis 03/18/13

John Cena starts the show by coming to the ring. He is interrupted by the Prime Time Players. After some random promo work by Titus and comparing Young and Cena’s looks, Cena challenges Darren Young to a match right now. Cena makes quick work of young and defeats him using the AA.

^So the Rock can’t show up, and we get Cena in a squash against a team that’s mostly been buried? At least they got on TV, I guess. Nothing special here, but WWE will be making a huge mistake if John Cena isn’t the WWE Champion after WrestleMania. The Rock being gone all the time as Champion just doesn’t give off much of an exciting feel. Cena winning this match was more of a segment to put him over than to give us quality wrestling.

Ryback squashes David Otunga. Ryback goes to talk after the match but Mark Henry comes out. Vickie Guerrero and Teddy Long stop him from going to the ring. Vickie removes Ryback from the six man tag at WrestleMania and books him in a one on one match with Mark Henry. Ryback hits shell shocked on Otunga after the match is announced for Mania.

^I could care less that Otunga is back. Ryback squashing him is no surprise. Ryback and Henry for Mania will be very interesting to see. This was again more of a segment than a match to put over Mania. I don’t mind that when it comes to this time of year, but we need some quality wrestling before the night is over.

Fandango again refuses to wrestle the Great Khali.

^Somehow I still don’t care about this gimmick. Fandango will clearly be a heel that gets pushed for a little while(similar to MVP) and then he’ll end up falling into an irrelevant state where he doesn’t matter anymore. I’ll just skip that middle part by not bothering to care.

R-Truth defeats Damien Sandow by countout when Sandow leaves the match.

^Good action here for the very short match. I could definitely see Kofi/Truth going against Team Rhodes Scholars or being apart of a four way number one contender’s tag team match at WrestleMania. There’s just no way Team Rhodes Scholars won’t be on the Mania card.

Kaitlyn approaches Cody Rhodes and the Bellas backstage and tells him that she can’t hang out with him later. The girls tell her that no one cares.

^Tag Team Divas match and Mania with Kaitlyn and Layla taking on the Bellas? I guess that works. Kaitlyn and Cody will probably continue this little storyline for a while. I wouldn’t mind Cody going face for a chance to rival with his current friend, Damien Sandow.

Undertaker comes to the ring and demands the urn back. CM Punk shows up on the tron imitating Paul Bearer and is tossing the urn around. Punk tells Taker he’s going to end the streak and then “accidentally” drops the urn.

^Very effective segment. They’re keeping this rivalry simple, but the intrigue is high for me. I love the Paul Bearer inclusion, but what I love more is Punk’s believable drive that he will actually end the streak.

Kane and Dbry defeat Primo and Epico despite AJ Lee’s attempted distraction when she skips around the ring.

^Team Hell no squashes one of the better wrestling tag teams in WWE, and nobody even thinks of it like that. Primo and Epico are worth more than their current jobber status. Kane and Dbry will end up facing Big E. and Ziggler at Mania, and that means the rest of the tag teams are left with random matchups. Short match here that wasn’t anything worth talking about.

Fandango interrupts a Chris Jericho interview with Josh Mathews. Jericho makes fun of his name and Fandango tells Jericho that he will learn how to pronounce is properly.

^Fandango/Jericho Mania rumors are apparently true. I’m not sure how to react to that. Does anyone think it will be a match worth seeing? Well, any match with Chris Jericho is usually worth seeing, but the appeal of the unproven Johnny Curtis/Fandango is non-existent for this writer.

Alberto Del Rio defeats Cody Rhodes using the cross armbreaker. Jack Swagger attacks Del Rio after the match. Swagger attacks Ricardo before leaving and apparently breaks his ankle.

^I swear this is the fourth or fifth time in 2013 that I’ve seen these two go one on one, but this was actually their best match in my eyes. I liked the simple story and back and forth action throughout. Del Rio has improved leaps and bounds since joining WWE a few years ago, and I have to say I’m happy with where he’s at now and I genuinely look forward to seeing his next match. The heat on Swagger was great, but he’s so up and down with crowd reactions because Swagger himself says so little when he’s on the mic. I want this to be Swagger/Del Rio feuding, not so much Zeb/Del Rio with some Ricard/Swag mixed in.

Booker T is announced as the next inductee in the 2013 Hall of Fame Class.

^Booker made a name for himself in WCW, and he was a big reason why the company stayed interesting throughout 2000 and early 2001. His WCW career is nothing to scoff at, and he’s truly one of the best storytellers in the ring and one of the best trainers now when it comes to helping younger talent get over. Booker is a great choice for induction.

Sheamus and Randy Orton defeat Heath Slater and Drew McIntyre. The Shield surrounds the ring after the match but Big Show comes to the ring and the Shield opt not to attack. Show points at the Mania sign indicating that he wants to be on their team now that Ryback is out.

^Well that came out of left field. Actually, it didn’t. That six man match will be loaded with action and talent, and hopefully the Shield is given ample time to showcase their talents and make a real name for themselves on the big stage.

Dolph Ziggler defeats Kofi Kingston with help from Big E. Langston. Kane and Dbry come to the stage after the match and challenge Ziggler and Big E. to a match. AJ accepts on their behalf but only if it’s for the Tag Team Titles and at WM29. Team Hell No accepts the challenge.

^So Kofi goes from a midcard push to getting beat by Dolph Ziggler every time we turn around. At least the tag team title match is now confirmed. I wonder how many people will predict that Ziggler cashes in and wins the World Title on the same night he wins the Tag Team Championships with Big E.

Wade Barrett defeats Chris Jericho and the Miz to retain the IC Championship.

^Awesome triple threat! On a show where we only had one other decent length match in Rhodes/Del Rio, this contest was the best. With Jericho now feuding with Fandango, you have to wonder if the Miz will seek out a one on one rematch for WrestleMania.

Triple H comes to the ring for the contract signing. Paul Heyman comes out with security. Heyman taunts Triple H and gets attacked. Hunter signs the contract and Brock comes out but won’t get in the ring. Heyman gets free and tells Hunter the match at WrestleMania will be No Holds Barred, and Triple H’s career will be on the line.

^Pretty effective closing segment. I feel like those stipulations were the most obvious WWE could have come up with, unless Hell in a Cell was added. I’m not overly excited for Brock and Triple H, but I’m guessing they’ll put on a solid brawl. Not a bad way to end the night.

I’m disappointed the Punk/Taker segment was so short, but you can see that WWE had a lot to fill in for the card. Where was Antonio Cesaro tonight? Hopefully he gets featured on Main Event or Smackdown. Regardless, the show was still good(not great) even without a ton of long matches. I’ll be back with the Smackdown Analysis on Friday! Until next time, you’ve been ThunderStruck! – add me!

  • Gav Harrison Formaly Hickman

    I’m baffled by ppl complaining The Rock isn’t there,come on did you not know he has movies to promote and wwe would have known that too it’s not a big deal.what is a big deal is why Cena has to be champ AGAIN did anyone see last nights segment it sucked and his crowd reactions are getting worse,honestly who are the crowd going to cheer at mania? Yeah that right the Rock there not going home happy if the last shot of mania is Cena holding the title with that stupid smirk on his face no thank you