- Wow, they really trolled the crowd with Punk’s theme. That was one of those internet ideas you don’t think they’ll actually go through with. Heyman’s speech was an odd mixture of kayfabe and non-kayfabe elements. Punk has indeed never main-evented Wrestlemania, and rumour has it that may have been the source of his grievance. This interplay of real world and fantasy is what I love about pro wrestling.
- Will anyone remember tonight for how much Brock’s improved on the mic? Of course not, which is a shame because he’s excellent. I also enjoyed the Lesnar Ringside Mayhem ™. It’s a shame ‘Taker can’t be here to promote his own match. I guess that’s what happens when you only build one new star in ten years, and rely on part-timers for your biggest show.
- The New Age Outlaws enter to absolute silence. As good as they’ve been, they’re not credible champions. Although I thought the feud with the Rhodes’ was much better than the Usos, it’s great to have new tag champs on Raw. Hopefully the division can now move forward.
- Cesaro continues to be supernaturally good in the ring as well as amazingly over. The real Americans’ deliberate DQ feud is also pretty original and funny.
- The Shield / Wyatts match is of course brilliant on every level. It has energy and inventiveness, as well as great storytelling. This week it’s Rollins’ turn to take the spotlight, both in the ring and out of it. Seth walking out is unexpected, and with this development they’ve somehow managed to make the Shield even more intriguing than they were already. Just excellent.
- Emma is growing on me. Maybe it’s the bubbles. Maybe it’s the failed skinning of the cat. Either way it’s working.
- Increasingly Desperate Christian. Well, it’s a thing I suppose.
- I still think the show is too long. Tonight was about 60% filler. I would ask what a casual viewer would make of this. If a random person, say somebody who watched the Attitude Era but not since, tuned into Raw at some point in the second hour, would they keep watching? My guess it that they’d be bored. I was bored and I’m enough of a mentalist to write a blog on this stuff. How can pro wrestling grow its fanbase when two thirds of the show feels so directionless? Sometimes less really is more.
- Nude look Del Rio. Ugh.
- I Love Rusev’s music and the Cyrillic ident. It’s funny how a Soviet gimmick now feels so old it’s like something from the silent movie era.
- Batista has improved in the ring. His outing with Bryan tonight is actually fine. Short, but fine.
- It’s worth noting that Dave Meltzer was 100% wrong about Punk returning. Bear in mind that when you listen to guys like him, you’re essentially listening to a guy being worked by the company. WWE wanted people to believe Punk might be here, so they put the word out. That’s how these things work.
“Deal With It” would be an excellent corporate slogan for the modern WWE. It’s rather like the show is being booked in a straightjacket. Creative clearly know what they should do, because they hint at it, but for some reason they can’t follow through. Instead, they dance around the issues without addressing them. Bryan vs Trips is clearly not the match fans want to see. I strongly suspect we’re going to spend the next four weeks being teased a good Wrestlemania card, while the actual card stays exactly the same.
Punk is not coming back. Bryan will be nowhere near the title in the foreseeable future. Everyone you care about will grow old and die. #dealwithit