Monday Night Raw Warm Up for March 5th, 2012

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The Rock made another "return" to WWE TV last week in Portland to promote his WrestleMania XXVIII match with John Cena. Given the hype surrounding that appearance, it's unlikely he'll make an unannounced showing tonight in Boston.

On the Road to WrestleMania, last week’s Raw from Portland, Oregon was far more mania than wrestling. While things build toward WWE’s biggest night of the year it’s understandable that there will be some amount of hype, but the show seemed to have an inordinate amount of recap videos and other promos. In the end it made up a significant portion of the show between the Rock and John Cena, Triple H and the Undertaker, and the horrendous looking trailer for Bending the Rules.

Tonight in Boston could be more of the same in Cena’s home town and Shawn Michaels returning for another week following his wwe.com bit about being better than Triple H.

Brian: Last Monday had about 30 minutes of video, 40 minutes of promos and 20 minutes of wrestling. I was glued to the set…

PTB: It seemed like every five minutes they were cutting to some pre-recorded package of something. C.M. Punk versus Chris Jericho already overshadows everything else on the WrestleMania card for me, but hopefully promos like the one that opened Raw will wake everyone else up to the fact that Rock/Cena should be an afterthought by comparison.

Brian: At this point, I really have zero interest in anything else and I’m even debating on watching at all. If the Rock goes over Cena, I’ll stop watching wrestling completely.

PTB: That’s a bold statement coming from you, but last week made it clear that all Punk/Jericho needs is those two guys in the ring to be a classic.

Brian: Should be worth $60 alone.

PTB: Last week’s Raw featured another great match between Daniel Bryan and Punk. While I appreciate using it to drive the Teddy Long/John Laurinaitis feud for the General Manager’s position, I can’t condone the number of times they cut away from the ring to show a bunch of talking heads at the announcers table.

Brian: It’s liking watching Epico and Primo wrestle and seeing 10 cutaways to Rosa Mendez in a 4 minute match.

PTB: I understand we’re not going to get a clean finish in any of these champion versus champion matches, but the reversed decisions on the live Tuesday Smackdown were so much better than what we’ve seen on Raw the two times Bryan and Punk have met. I suppose it’s worth pointing out that not putting one of these guys over the other keeps them on equal footing since that’s not a given with some of the decisions this booking team makes.

Brian: Having this match over and over, week after week cheapens the special feeling you should get from a champion vs champion match. Using it to further a feud between two figureheads is sacrilege.

PTB: That may be overstating things a bit, but I agree that it shouldn’t be happening three times in a month.

It’s clear at this point that David Otunga versus Santino Marella or a tag match with those two and Long/Laurinaitis is happening at WrestleMania.

Brian: I’m thinking it will be more of a 10 man tag or something. You figure they are already have Hell in a Cell at WrestelMania, they might as well have the main event for the Bragging Rights PPV too. If they wouldn’t have scrapped the Money In The Bank PPV, we could have gotten 3 specialty main events for the price of one.

PTB: Money in the Bank should have stayed a WrestleMania match and never been expanded to its own pay-per-view.

We often talk about the quick Divas matches and Kelly Kelly versus Nicki Bella was par for the course. I just don’t understand why you don’t put Eve in that spot somewhere after all the attention she got last week. Her promo was watchable but it should have been paired with this match somehow.

Brian: The Divas are a complete afterthought anymore.

PTB: I’m really hoping they use Eve to elevate someone into a feud with Cena after all this business with the Rock is over since we know he won’t be around.

Brian: I doubt that will happen.

PTB: It was a typically mixed reaction for Cena in Portland, do you think the fact that the Rock was in the building added to that? I can’t help but think if the crowd knew they were only getting Cena they’d back him.

Brian: I was thinking the same.

PTB: The Miz… what a difference a year makes. I thought we’d see him against R-Truth at WrestlMania but I don’t think that’s likely at this point. He got a great reaction from the crowd though. A few signs in the crowd in recent weeks tell it all: “Back to the Miz-card” and “Miz? Remember when you mattered?”

Brain: is it me or does it look like he really doesn’t want to be there anymore? His mic skills and in ring performance have taken a steep nose-dive since Maryse left.

PTB: Something definitely seems off with him. Going from the main event last year to being off the card this year while still being on TV each week is strange business.

Truth was booked in an interesting Triple Threat Tag Team Championship match once again with his partner Kofi Kingston. I like the idea of showcasing the tag division in a fast paced match like this on Raw, but teams like Truth/Kingston and Ziggler/Swagger don’t do it for me. Looks like we’re going to be getting more of that at WrestleMania unfortunately.

Brain: Why have a regular tag match between the Usos and Colons when you can throw together a match with a ton of makeshift tag teams?

PTB: It is good to have the tag champs Epico and Primo in a high profile match with some guys who were main eventers over the last few months. The Smackdown contingent of Big Show, Sheamus, Mark Henry and Cody Rhodes were packaged in a tag match as well. I have to admit Rhodes’ “Embarrassing Big Show WrestleMania Moments” are creating a fun feud for the two.

Brian: I’m not digging it. I was hoping for Cody versus Goldust at WrestleMania and can’t get into this feud.

PTB: Cody against Goldust could have been interesting, but I really liked the building feud between Bryan and the Big Show. I still don’t get the booking change there.

When we finally saw the Rock last week, it was clear the fans in Portland just wanted to chant anything. Honestly, it wasn’t the Rock’s best work. I’m glad he was limited to one segment.

Brian: I actually think that this was some of the Rock’s worst work. “Kung Pow Bitch?” That’s weak. Unfortunately the crowd ate it up.

PTB: The argument of fighting for the guys in the back is interesting. The Rock made some good points, but I don’t know that he should be the one making them. He was forced down our throats as Rocky Miavia and how did they recover? He turned heel and he was great. The fact that Cena hasn’t turned even though the fans try to jeer him out of the building and is still in an interesting program speaks volumes.

Brian: I think the Rock is grasping at straws. “When I said I’m back and I’d never leave, I didn’t mean I’d be here every week.” he could have come up with a better defense than that.

Cena’s retort was phenomenal. He totally owned him and it sounded like some of the fans enjoyed it. The notes about the promo notes on his wrist was great. I really want to go back and look at the tape now. The cut about the Twitter stuff was great too. The best part was watching Rock stumble all over himself to try to come up with a comeback and fail miserably.

PTB: Cena really came out on top as far as I’m concerned and I truly believe that’s the way it should be.

Among all the videos and highlight reels, I couldn’t help but wonder if you’re watching anything on WWE’s YouTube Channel that was heavily advertised?

Brian: I’m watching Are You Serious? and loving it.

PTB: I checked out the latest episode of Santino Marella’s Foreign Exchange. It was good for a few laughs but most involved his attempts to pronounce people’s names.

With four weeks to go until WrestleMania XXVIII, here’s the card we’ve seen announced so far:

  • Chris Jericho challenges C.M. Punk for the WWE Championship
  • Sheamus challenges Daniel Bryan for the World Championship
  • Triple H versus the Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match
  • The Rock versus John Cena

2012 Hall of Fame inductees announced to date:

  • Edge
  • The Four Horsemen
  • Mike Tyson
  • Ron Simmons

Read more about World Wrestling Entertainment on MyLatestDistraction.

Keep up with all of our weekly Monday Night Raw Warm Ups:
February 27th, 2012 edition / March 12th, 2012 edition

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