Monday Night Raw Warm Up for February 4th, 2013

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One thing that won’t stay in Vegas, the annual tradition of pointing at the WrestleMania sign ad nauseam.

Raw arrived in Las Vegas last week with Raw Roulette in tow. There are plenty of newsworthy items to discuss in the fallout from the Royal Rumble, but we’d prefer that most of what happened on the show stayed in Vegas. The most newsworthy item since last Monday is the announcement of Bruno Sammartino on the list of 2013 WWE Hall of Fame inductees. Yes indeed, it is time for a Warm Up… since hell just froze over.

THE JASON: Before we get started, I have to mention that you know we’re on the Road to WrestleMania by how many people stare longingly and/or point at the WrestleMania sign during the show. We should probably keep track of this and tally up who is the biggest offender by the time April 7th rolls around. I’m pretty sure it will be Cena since he’s got the stare down to a science.

PTB: It’s an epidemic. C.M. Punk was offering a cool $1000 to every superstar that pointed at the sign at the Rumble last week.

THE JASON: When did this become a thing, exactly? I know that they’ve been doing it for at least the last two years now, but it’s getting ridiculous. They should take it to new heights with someone who has no match like Santino or Zack Ryder pointing at the sign and then getting KO’d by Ryback.

PTB: Cena is the guy I most associate with the sign point, but I’m sure we could find other repeat offenders without going too far back. While not exactly a point or stare, I definitely recall a lot of instances of the Undertaker and various opponents being strategically positioned face-to-face with the sign in the distance.

THE JASON: I think I called it during last week’s Warm Up: The Raw Roulette shows never yield a positive result. Some of the segments on last week’s show were so brutal that the announcers were just burying it on commentary. The Tensai/Brodus Clay dance-off was awful, the Divas match fell apart, Ryback and the Prime Time Players participated in an unfunny Make-Me-Laugh Challenge, and The Miz was a guest ref. I can’t even speak about the Zack Ryder/Khali/Hornswoggle deal – third hour and they wheel that stuff out? Sorry, fast forward is the clear winner there.

PTB: I was trying to beat the clock to get through those segments. As bad as all that was (and it’s amplified by virtue of the show running three hours) there were some highlights and C.M. Punk was at the heart of them. His arrival at the top of the show following the “Phoenix Screwjob” was outstanding.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNNrK1rntbo]

THE JASON: Punk is still Raw’s MVP and with or without the belt he is incredibly entertaining. His opening segment as well as his verbal sparring with the Rock to set up a rematch at Elimination Chamber were highlights.

PTB: There is no “without the belt,” as far as I’m concerned we’re at day 442 of Punk’s WWE title reign tonight. The only things watchable other than him last week were Chris Jericho and Heyman/McMahon.

THE JASON: While I wasn’t thrilled to see Cody (and his creepy stash) get squashed in short order, it was good to see Cena cut a decent promo after his pre-Rumble nonsense. I enjoyed the seriousness of it and I like that he mentioned how many times Punk has beat him regardless of how he accomplished it. But enough with the longing stares at the WrestleMania sign. Buy it dinner, at least.

PTB: Last time he bought a sign dinner, she lost her job as General Manager.

THE JASON: Hey now! The Shield’s beatdown of Cena, Sheamus and Ryback could signal a 6-man tag-match to keep everyone occupied at Elimination Chamber.

PTB: That’s a strong possibility but I still think this is Orton, Sheamus, and Ryback. Cena will be in an Elimination Chamber match.

THE JASON: I really hope not. I think that the concept is better served with one chamber match to decide who the World Title challenger at Mania will be. Two is overkill and it makes the Rumble pointless to have the champion defend in that match before the event. I’m calling one Chamber match this year since it looks like both Rock and Del Rio will be in singles matches at Elimination Chamber. How about Big Show duct-taping Alberto to the ropes and proceeding to destroy both he and Ricardo? Big Show has been on quite a run this year.

WWE_RAW_20130204_BigShow_DelRioPTB: He has and I fully approve. I like seeing him get revenge for the cheating ways of the World Champion. Alberto didn’t have a chance to show off his in ring prowess last week but TBS needed to roll over these two. I really hope he gets a big WM win this year.

THE JASON: I don’t know if you’ll get your wish. I think it was fulfilled last year. In any case, it was good to see Jericho back, but I can’t help but feel like we’re watching “Jericho’s Greatest Hits” instead of something new. He’s throwing out all of the old catchphrases and he even has a 2013 version of his old funny hair. He’s a guy that kept evolving, so this is a bit like he’s just having some fun out there and giving the fans what they want to see. If you go to see the Who, you want them to play Baba O’Reily one more time, you see Jericho in 2013 you want to hear him say “Monday Night Jericho.” It’s just such a dichotomy to guy that smashed a bottle of jack on CM Punk’s head last year and punched Shawn Michael’s wife in the face.

PTB: It is, but babyface Jericho has always been a touch boring. Once this Ziggler feud gets closer to WrestleMania I think we’ll get the Jericho we’re looking for.

THE JASON: I’m not a fan of guys that are feuding being forced to team-up. I was anticipating a title change during the Ziggler/Jericho vs. Hell No match, especially when Bryan and Kane starting slapping one another. Thankfully that didn’t happen. I think that concept was done to death in the late 90’s (Austin/Undertaker, Bret Hart/Goldberg spring to mind).

PTB: I don’t mind see tag champs at war when it’s done well. Kane and Daniel Bryan have so much history going back their feud with Punk revolving around AJ, being forced to team up as part of their anger management therapy, and now a split born from a fun exit for both from the Royal Rumble. Presuming this split really happens it gives both a better WrestleMania spot that either had last year. Granted Bryan went in as World Champ last year but a 17 second loss to Sheamus is not a good spot.

WWE_RAW_20130204_Heyman_McMahon_LesnarTHE JASON: We should probably discuss the show-closing segment. First off, Paul was great all the way through. While it was good to see Brock back, that really wasn’t the resolution I was hoping for. After the tape was shown I was really hoping for Paul’s look of fear to change to a smile and for him to shout at Vince “Do you really want to know if I’m the man behind the Shield? YES! YES I AM.” Then the Shield would have hit the ring and massacred Vince. I kept waiting and obviously that wasn’t the plan. I’m glad that they tied everything up, and this was a fine enough way to have Brock return and set-up HHH vs. Brock 2. Regardless of Brock’s loss to Cena last year, and the haphazard way they’ve booked him, he still came off like a beast and Paul begging Vince to “just leave the ring” really sold it for me.

PTB: Heyman was a lot of fun to watch but I too would have liked to see him embrace what he’d done in getting caught. Having him be a step ahead of Vince would have really worked here. As it stands, I still think we’ll see that all is not as it appears with the Shield attack at the Rumble and Punk is still the champ even if they never give him the belt back. Maybe this is how his title reign gets to number one all time?

THE JASON: Punk is not going to beat Bruno Sammartino’s reign. It’s a nice thought, but Rock’s got the belt and that’s not something that will be changed until April 7th. While I would have preferred Punk heading into Mania as champ, it isn’t like he didn’t have a 434 day reign. I’m okay with the change. Speaking of things that could use a change, HHH vs. Brock could certainly use one. I’d really prefer if they went with your idea of Brock vs. Undertaker and HHH being retired but in Taker’s corner.

PTB: It could still happen. Brock showing up was unexpected and exciting but it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Like so many Shield attacks a little mic work would face helped.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxWNGv8j4Mg]

THE JASON: We love tournaments! But let me get this straight – Bo Dallas just beat Wade Barret and he’s NOT in the Intercontinental Title Cup tournament? HUH? By the way, I think we have a new candidate for lamest name from the WWE random name generator. I’d rather Bo Rotundo be IRS, Jr. than Bo Dallas.

PTB: Is he Rotundo Jr? I had no idea. I don’t get not including him in the IC tournament. If he’s good enough to get a high profile elimination in the Rumble and show up on Raw the next night, why isn’t he good enough to include?

THE JASON: Because Wade Barret went on Twitter and announced that the whole tournament was canned. Well, thanks for that. I’m not saying we like tournaments anymore, see where that gets us? Seeing what amounted to entirety of the current Divas division out there during the trainwreck that was Kaitlyn vs. Tamina was a huge contrast to Trish Stratus being inducted into the Hall of Fame. I don’t think that there is a female wrestler who deserves it more than Trish. She really was the complete package. I definitely miss her, and now Eve (we haven’t touched on her recent departure) with the less-than-stellar quality of the current crop of Divas.

PTB: Diva Tailspin 2013. Beth Phoenix is great, but we never see her. Natalia is now a joke. Layla seemed capable but she’s not getting any air time so I’m assuming there’s something we don’t know about her situation. Eve had the potential to really distinguish herself but it never manifested. What really surprises me here though is how often she’s been mentioned since quitting. As I type this, it comes to mind that Trish really could be the greatest diva of all time.

THE JASON: Tonight will be in WCW’s old haunts of Atlanta, GA. I wonder if we’ll get some old WCW names populating this year’s Hall of Fame class.

PTB: You know, Kevin Nash was in attendance at Rumble-con last week.

THE JASON: Cue the ominous music! We’ll leave off with a cliffhanger as we see everyone back here next week!

Read more about World Wrestling Entertainment on MyLatestDistraction.

Keep up with all of our weekly Monday Night Raw Warm Ups:
January 28th, 2012 edition / February 11th, 2013 edition 

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