Monday Night Raw Warm Up for February 18th, 2013

Posted by under *mixed, Television |

WWE_RAW_20130218_Swagger_CoulterAs the last major stop on the road to WrestleMania, we’d thought last night’s Elmination Chamber PPV would bring WWE’s biggest event of the year into greater focus. In part it has, as the expected rematch between the Rock and John Cena, which was never really in doubt, appears to be set in stone with Rock’s defeat of C.M. Punk. However, many other areas of the card still seem hazy… including the surprising choice of Jack Swagger as the World Championship contender for WrestleMania coming out of the Elimination Chamber match. Needless to say, this week’s Warm Up begins with a “Huh?”

THE JASON: So Swagger…?

PTB: I’m as surprised to see him in this spot as you are. Honestly, I think it’s a good move. He makes a big splash in his return, immediately gets a big win at a pay per view, and now a title match at WrestleMania. I’d hate it if he didn’t have a history in WWE, but given that history anything less than this kind of push would have lost my attention immediately.

THE JASON: Yes, but recall that his history also had him win Money in the Bank, win the World title and then wind up jobbing to Santino a few months ago. I’m not sure I can say much about Zeb Colter or his inclusion. It’s certainly better than listening to Swagger talk, but it’s a sensitive issue especially considering the xenophobic audience that wrestling tends to attract. It’s nuanced, the former American Heroes who no longer recognize America since its evolved beyond them thus making them the racist heels. It’s a sensitive issue.

PTB: Giving Swagger a mouthpiece is another good move and it adds to his return. Even though the gimmick is pushing a lot of buttons on sensitive topics, it’s not like this is outside of WWE’s typical playbook. Last time we saw Zeb Colter it was as Uncle Zebekiah managing Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw (better known as current Raw commentator John Bradshaw Layfield) and they had a lot of ugly to spew then too.

THE JASON: Ultimately, I’m not sure if this screams MAIN EVENT to me.

PTB: What happens in the ring is what will ultimately reveal it as a main event or a lame attempt for me.

THE JASON: You’ve got a point, and both Del Rio and Swagger could pull it off. As for the other members of the chamber match, the way it lined up was a bit odd. I’m never a fan of guys who have already qualified losing matches to other guys so they can qualify. That seems counterproductive. Ultimately, I would have rather seen Mark Henry get the win last night, but winning chamber matches isn’t what he’s known for. However killing midgets is what he does apparently from last week’s events. See, now if someone had the balls to tell him that’s what King Kong Bundy did and it didn’t work out so well for him in the long run.

PTB: Henry’s last push took a long time to establish and I think he’s going to need some time to get back into the main event picture. It’s hard to know what he’s going to be capable of in the ring with WrestleMania closing in fast and at least with Swagger you can count on an athletic contest with Alberto Del Rio. Unfortunately that’s likely to come with a lot of racist business between the two that will surely to be presented with heaviest of hands.

THE JASON: True, and but Henry came back with a certain aura of a star. We may not get the athletic contest with him involved, but I think it would provide a stronger title match and in the end Del Rio could go over. I think that if Swagger loses, he is going to “Luger” it up again: Almost getting there, but looking like a chump after all is said and done. Henry doesn’t have that stigma. Like Henry, Big Show can be fine after putting someone over, and I’m not sure where he goes next but I would add him knocking out Striker for early contention of greatest moments of 2013.

PTB: The upside to a Del Rio/Henry title match is that Del Rio’s feud with the Big Show has been fantastic and Henry is another monster for the champion to work with. Unfortunately, Big Show’s exit from the title hunt could mean he’s headed for another embarrassing loss to a celebrity at WrestleMania. Last year, he got the big WrestleMania win that’s eluded him over Cody Rhodes and that feud showed up late in the game, but it’s unlikely we’ll get something like that again this year.

THE JASON: You know, I’m getting really tired of the long set up for Finishers. What happened to moves like the diamond cutter that could come out of nowhere?

PTB: Randy Orton’s RKO is about the only finisher with the element of surprise right now. No surprise, it’s the same move as the Diamond Cutter. The big exception being that I never want to see it because I never want to see Orton much less see him win.

THE JASON: The RKO has no surprise element since Orton has to do his 3 minute routine before it hits of acting all… vipery. What surprises me is Fandango… Ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight? Because this gimmick needs to be put out of its misery. Are we supposed to find this funny? I have no idea. Last week’s Raw brought one legitimate guffaw from me as I laughed out loud when Booker told Teddy Long “that idea sucks.” It just seemed so random.

PTB: We’ve ignored Fandango long enough.

THE JASON: For good reason.

PTB: What on Earth is the idea here? On one hand, it’s a classic promo approach to introduce a new character, which I like. It reminds me of Val Venis, and this tactic was most recently used fairly effectively for Alberto Del Rio. That’s not going to happen here. The only things it has going for it is using the very recognizable name of a popular movie ticketing site and people seem to love Dancing with the Stars.

THE JASON: I’ll be shocked if the guy ever makes it to TV. Good to see the SHIELD kept strong last night. Cena, Ryback and Sheamus are the WWE equivalent of The Justice League. Cena is Superman, Sheamus is Aquaman, and Ryback gets to be…Congorilla I suppose. I don’t know, I was about to go with Martian Manhunter but that seems way too cerebral a pick.

PTB: Ryback is Kid Flash. He’s always hungry.

THE JASON: No way. Maybe he’s Amazing Man, simply because that guy could absorb other heroes’ powers. He’s absorbed Goldberg’s gimmick, Van Dam’s tights, and Emory Hale’s pharmaceutical stash. Or maybe he’s Codpiece – worst superhero ever.

PTB: I don’t know that I’m ready to give Cena, Sheamus, and Ryback the Justice League mantle just yet, but I have been seeing them referred to as Team “Sell No” around the Internet, and I think the name fits.

THE JASON: Can we talk about the pizza sliders?

PTB: Now look who’s hungry.

THE JASON: I pay way too much attention to commercials, and there were at least two commercials for Pizza Sliders last week. Haven’t these been readily available as Pizza Bagel Bites since the ’80s? Sliders – it’s like food for people with short attention spans. Maybe there’s a connection here to Ryback. Maybe his matches are so short because he is WWE’s answer to the slider, thus why he is always hungry. I’d want to be fed more too if I was only getting 1/6 of a burger at a time. Now I just have to figure out how this connects to The Justice League.

Maybe this should have been a slider-sized column! Until next week, folks!

Read more about World Wrestling Entertainment on MyLatestDistraction.

Keep up with all of our weekly Monday Night Raw Warm Ups:
February 11th, 2012 edition / February 25th, 2013 edition 

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