Monday Night Raw Warm Up for February 25th, 2013

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Last Monday, The Rock unveiled the new WWE Championship replacing the “spinner” belt introduced by John Cena in 2005. While the new design is an improvement, it still comes off more toy aisle than title worthy.

Last week’s Raw gave us a mixed bag of angles, but the big story led to a match scheduled for tonight featuring John Cena vs. C.M. Punk.  Cena is putting up his title shot with The Rock in the main event of WrestleMania on the line against the former champion, and the Road to WrestleMania may take sometimes takes unexpected turns.  There are some other superstars who should be returning tonight to help populate the rest of the card including Brock Lesnar and a rumored individual who may have made a return over the weekend at the house shows.

THE JASON:  The focus of tonight will be on Punk and Cena and the repercussions of that match.  I see a DQ coming since they’ve retconned any losses that Punk has had to Cena (most notably the post-Money in the Bank win on 8/22/11 due to NASH-erference) and I’m fine with that.  Andre never lost a match, and Hogan and Andre never ever had a match prior to 1987 – both of which weren’t close to true but it served the storyline. Having Punk lose to Cena is a mistake in the long run since Punk being Cena’s achilles heel is a story that really deserves a big payoff and not ending in a transitional match to get these guys to their WrestleMania endgame.

PTB: I agree that Cena shouldn’t get a win over Punk unless it serves the storyline of their ongoing feud. As it stands, I’m afraid he’s getting the clean win to go along with the Rock’s victory over Punk at Elimination Chamber. It’s possible we’ll get an interesting wrinkle though as there’s a lot of talk about a triple threat match at WrestleMania for the WWE Championship. I’m not completely turned off by this idea, but it really makes me question why the Rock got a clean win at Elimination Chamber if this is the plan.  They could have had Punk get the title back and say his reign is uninterrupted or even have the title vacant for the three of them. The stipulation that Rock would lose the title on a DQ amounted to nothing unless Punk would have won somehow.

THE JASON:  Even though last week’s show closer is leading us in the direction to a 3-Way at WrestleMania, I think Undertaker returns tonight and either causes the DQ or costs Punk the match.  How they have this make sense, I’m not entirely sure.

PTB: As much fun as a Punk/Undertaker match could be, I think I’d prefer to see Cena get the big win over the two men that have handed him a lot of high profile losses at WrestleMania. There’s just more history there and even though I’m pretty neutral on Cena, I side with story development and history every time.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Yoa6fJ_0WU]

PTB: As much as I thought we’d see it in some form at WrestleMania, we’re scheduled to get some type of physical confrontation between Vince McMahon and Paul Heyman tonight on Raw. It’s becoming clear that this is leading to a Brock Lesnar vs Triple H rematch at WrestleMania with Heyman and McMahon in their respective corners. The conflict between the two promoters has been good so far and should be great if they’re going to continue to spar on the mic. In the ring, I have far less faith in being entertained.

THE JASON:  I have no interest in Brock vs. Triple H Part 2, unless Brock continues his destruction of various mid-card and ringside personnel.  If Michael Cole somehow gets F5’d through the announce table tonight I will happily endure four weeks of HHH promos talking about how he had to come out of retirement and defend old Vince’s honor and how he’s saving so much money since cutting his hair because conditioner is really expensive.

PTB: Ha! I’m with you as far as not wanting to hear Triple H hit the same notes each week as we head to the big dance, but you’re thinking too small when it comes to these F5s. Just imagine, Lesnar F5s the announce table through Michael Cole.

THE JASON: Jericho and the Rock will both be off of the show tonight due to their other non-wrestling commitments.  I’m still hoping to get Jericho and Ziggler mixing it up for WrestleMania, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards.  Last week, Jericho had a great six-man match with The Sheild, and Ryback and Sheamus were dragged along as well.  I’m not sure where they are going with any of these guys but a old-school “muscle man” type of brawl with Sheamus and Ryback would be a fine way to occupy both of these guys.

PTB: I hope Jericho/Ziggler is on the WrestleMania card. Again, it’s a feud with history but the two should be able to put on a show stealing match. Swapping Jericho in place of Cena on Team Sell No against The Shield just does not work for me on any level. He brings the in ring skills to make The Shield shine, but it’s too late to crowbar him into that match. I’d much rather see another roster guy that’s been involved with The Shield in any way, at any time.

THE JASON:  The last item we need to touch on is someone else who may or may not be on the show and that’s Jack Swagger.  One area that seemed to come in to focus coming out of Elimination Chamber was that Swagger, with his pro-Tea Party gimmick, was set for a World Title shot.  After earning himself a DUI along with charges for speeding and drug possession, Swagger may have just eliminated himself from Raw.

PTB: It’s unfortunate, but I think we’ll see him on the show in another example of the uneven application of WWE’s wellness policy. He’s in too high profile a spot to get a suspension this close to WrestleMania, though there was a time Zeb Colter would have simply been paired with someone new and they’d have moved on. That being said, I think his chances of winning the World title have been reduced to zero-out-of-ten.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9_RcD6WMmM]

THE JASON:  I’m not entirely sure what the outcome of his arrest will be.  Even after the arrest, Swagger and Zeb Colter posted a strange You Tube video that saw them break character and invite conservative radio host Glenn Beck to come on Raw.  I don’t think either of us were terribly enthused with the direction they were going with Swagger and Colter as we noted last week in the Warm-Up.  We’ve lived through Sergeant Slaughter “Iraqi Sympathizer,” Mohammad Hassan “Misunderstood Arab American who wound up just being another anti-American heel,” and John “Bradshaw” Layfield doing nearly the same character as Swagger 9 years ago.  They were all tasteless, but this video is far more embarrassing as WWE doesn’t even pretend to impart a logical argument.  I’m no fan of Glenn Beck, but I’m pretty sure he gets that WWE is a scripted program.  I think WWE missed the point of his critique, which was that the characters of the Swagger and Colter were painting the Tea Party in a negative light, not if they were actually playing characters or not.  WWE’s response seems in disarray to the initial argument, and provided that the match is still happening this video doesn’t help with the actual angle of Swagger vs. Del Rio.  Especially since I know now that Jake Hager and Jose Rodríguez are good pals and all.

I mean WHAT THE HELL was that?

Let’s get back in character.

PTB: Honestly, when you first told me about the arrest I thought it might be a fake story WWE created so that Colter and Swagger could spin it as an attempt at character assassination by the liberal media or an example of the totalitarian government’s ability to manage information and thus keep us in the dark… Sorry, wrong meeting.

Read more about World Wrestling Entertainment on MyLatestDistraction.

Keep up with all of our weekly Monday Night Raw Warm Ups:
February 18th, 2012 edition / March 4th, 2013 edition 

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