After one of the better Elimination Chamber pay-per-views in history, Monday’s edition of WWE’s flagship show Raw was a great way to introduce the final stretch heading toward WrestleMania 29.
There weren’t any ground-breaking segments this week—this edition of Raw felt more like it was built to tease the following week’s episode instead of furthering the top storylines—but everything from the three-on-three match with The Shield to Mark Henry and Jack Swagger winning proves the WWE is setting the stage for something huge.
The company would usually have most of the WrestleMania card figured out by now, but a lack of writing on the wall about any match besides the two world title bouts has the WWE Universe genuinely in the dark.
In the age of computers and dirtsheets, being genuinely surprised at the company's biggest card would make the show so much more interesting.
The WWE is handling the road to WrestleMania 29 perfectly so far.
Raw Results from Feb. 18 (via WWE.com)
John Cena challenged CM Punk to a WWE Championship No. 1 Contender’s Match.
Mark Henry defeated Sin Cara.
The Miz defeated U.S. Champion Antonio Cesaro.
World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio defeated Dolph Ziggler.
Sheamus interrupted Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett’s reveal of the “Dead Man Down” trailer.
Brodus Clay, Tensai & Naomi defeated Primo, Epico & Rosa Mendes.
Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter delivered their “State of the Union” address.
Jack Swagger defeated WWE Tag Team Champion Daniel Bryan.
Mr. McMahon challenged Paul Heyman to a fight.
The Shield defeated Ryback, Sheamus & Chris Jericho.
Damien Sandow attacked Kofi Kingston before their match could begin; R-Truth made the save.
The Rock unveiled the new WWE Championship.
The Rock Has a New Belt
After eight years of using the WWE spinner belt, the company has finally decided to go in a different direction with the WWE Championship title and debuted a brand new design with the help of champion The Rock.
Question on Everyone’s Mind: Do You Like the New Belt?
At first glimpse, this belt doesn’t make many fans fall head-over-heels in love with it, but looking at it for a few minutes and dwelling on it overnight proves that this design is unique and will be perfect for this title. The change of design is a sign of the times in the WWE; it’s not all about Cena anymore.
Legendary announcer Jim Ross took to Twitter to talk about The Rock’s new title and how he felt many fans would view the improved belt.
Jim Ross @JRsBBQ
Everyone complaining can rejoice...@TheRock is unveiling a new championship title. #WWE Customized, no less. #controversial? Yep.2013-2-19 04:00:55
Nationally syndicated radio show Ring Rust Radio was not sold on the title at first (like many others), but a closer look revealed a rather appealing title belt.
At first, the new @WWE title looked awful, but after a closer inspection, this is one of the more unique & interesting titles in wrestling!2013-2-19 12:35:15
Setting the Stage For Next Week
Between John Cena challenging CM Punk for the WrestleMania 29 title shot he won at the Royal Rumble and Vince McMahon threatening to beat up Paul Heyman, the WWE is setting up next week’s episode to be even more unpredictable than this Monday’s edition of Raw.
Question on Everyone’s Mind: Will Something Monumental Happen Next Week?
As great as this week’s edition of Raw was, the company was clearly using this as the go-home show to next week’s edition of the Monday night flagship. With almost every major angle teased for next week, there is a feeling that something huge could be in the works for next Monday.
Former WWE champion John Cena took to Twitter to express the feelings that he shared on Raw; if Punk beats him next Monday, he deserves to fight The Rock at WrestleMania 29.
John Cena @JohnCena
If @CMPunk beats me, then he deserves to face @TheRock for the new @WWE title. I will be at my best. #thechampishere2013-2-19 05:51:41
WWE diva Aksana is just as excited about next week’s Raw and the wild surprises in store for the fans as the rest of the WWE Universe.
I can't wait next week #Raw @JohnCena vs @CMPunk!2013-2-19 01:20:45