Monday Night Raw was live from Cajun country tonight as the Road to WrestleMania plowed through Lafayette, La. tonight. With only 48 days remaining before WrestleMania XXIX, what surprises were in store for us?
The Rock celebrates Championship victory and debuts new WWE Championship belt
The Rock FINALLY brings out the new WWE Championship belt after an eight-year reign of the John Cena spinner belt.
Now this has been long overdue for years. The spinner looks out of place and is unbecoming of the No. 1 guy in the WWE. The new belt is a variation on the belt that was leaked months ago, but this one has the Brahma Bull logo on the side plates. I'm curious if this is a version that will have changing side plates, or if this is just a special version for the Rock.
The belt has been colored in compared to the full gold version we saw earlier, but I am still on the fence as to whether or not I like it. I wish they would have gone back to some version of an eagle on the main plate. The Rock said that legends like Hulk Hogan and Stone Cold have held this title, but they both had belts with an eagle on the plate.
But the jury will be out on this for a long time. Let the debate begin over the new design.
CM Punk goes face-to-face with Cena
Punk interrupted Cena's promo saying he deserves to be in the Main Event at WrestleMania and called John Cena lucky for having won the Royal Rumble from the 25th spot (in actuality he was No. 19 into the Rumble). Punk tells Cena to simply "walk away."
Not surprisingly, Cena decided to stay and gives props to Punk for actually making a good point. He agreed that he hasn't beat Rock, and that he hasn't beat Punk. Cena said Punk needed to "earn his golden ticket" to WrestleMania by facing Cena in a match "right here, right now!" Punk being Punk decided that next week would suit his schedule better and leaves the ring.
Cena agreed so now the wait for next week begins to see what is in store for CM Punk heading forward to WrestleMania. We should learn a whole lot about WWE's plans next week after this match.
I liked this promo. They set up what should be a good match with huge implications. Is the WWE finally learning to build matches that don't just take place at WrestleMania? This could be a great development and leads me to believe that we are in store for a triple-threat match on April 7 between Punk, Cena and Rock. It simply makes too much sense at this point, especially since Undertaker has yet to make an appearance.
The Shield impresses again in first match on Raw vs. Ryback, Sheamus and Jericho
Ryback and Sheamus got into each other's grill and were looking to throw down before Y2J showed up and redirected their anger to the real culprit for their loss at Elimination Chamber, The Shield.
Jericho says he can persuade Vickie Guerrero to give them a match with The Shield, tonight. Shortly after Vickie tweets that the match is on. This is only the third official match for the undefeated Shield as they previously won at the TLC pay-per-view and last night at the Elimination Chamber.
It's been amazing watching The Shield work in the ring, both in tonight's match and over the previous few months. They are so polished and all three members seem to have uber-star potential.
Tonight's match kicked off the final hour of Raw. The faces were up early with both Ryback and Sheamus physically dominating The Shield. Following The Shield getting the upper-hand, Ryback gets a hot tag and just destroys Seth Rollins.
A big spear from Roman Reigns nearly ends the match but Ryback kicked out at two. The Shield gets the edge again and begins methodically wearing down Ryback. Ryback finally reaches the corner and tags in Y2J. Jericho puts Ambrose into the Walls of Jericho but a flying kick to the head of Jericho by Seth Rollins breaks the hold, and gets the pin for The Shield.
The third official match for The Shield was another great one. They move to 3-0 and have done nothing but impress since their debut. The WWE is clearly behind the young trio and will probably stay strongly booked through at least WrestleMania in April.
Zeb Colter and Swagger deliver 'State of the Union'
WWE is showing a lot of confidence in Swagger considering he was off of TV for the better part of 2012.
With the polarization of the politics in this country (no political talk here, I promise you) this angle between Swagger and Del Rio could have legs. Zeb Colter is drawing a lot of heat already with his anti-immigration, pro-patriot stance. "We the people" is an old-school wrestling angle that draws on the current political climate.
Another notable feud that drew on politics was the Hulk Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter feud leading up to WrestleMania VII. The angle drew a lot of criticism as many felt the 1991 Gulf War was being exploited to make money for the WWF. Hopefully this angle with Swagger can nudge up to the line of inappropriateness without crossing it.
With this push for Swagger, I fully expect Del Rio to hold onto the WHC into WrestleMania; Dolph Ziggler will not cash in his Money in the Bank contract before then.
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