The road to WrestleMania 29 is shifting into high gear, and Monday’s Raw from Dallas marks just five weeks until the biggest show in the company’s history.
The success of this broadcast is imperative to the build for many of the top storylines in WWE right now, and Vince McMahon and Co. will ensure that this week’s Raw is one most fans will never forget.
That's why the main event is being billed as CM Punk vs. John Cena. That's big-time.
Add in the intrigue around how the company will handle Jack Swagger’s recent arrest (h/t TMZ), plus McMahon fighting Paul Heyman, and everything the WWE Universe thinks about WrestleMania 29 could be thrown out of whack Monday.
It’s shaping up to be a wild night.
Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas
When: Monday, Feb. 25, at 8 p.m. ET
Watch: USA Network
The Undertaker Lives
While WWE has not advertised The Undertaker for Monday’s edition of Raw, the fact that the veteran returned to the company at a live show indicates he is trying to test how well he feels and performs in the ring.
There are just five weeks until WrestleMania, so if The Undertaker were to come back to television to begin a feud, this would be the week for The Deadman to make his triumphant return.
Hopefully attacking CM Punk.
Source: Wrestling Inc.
Vince McMahon Covers for The Rock
The Rock is reportedly not scheduled for Monday’s episode of Raw—let me reiterate: the WWE Champion will not be on the company’s flagship show once again—but Vince McMahon and Co. have it all figured out.
Brock Lesnar is likely to be in attendance Monday, and the rumors of The Undertaker setting the stage for WrestleMania will help the ratings despite The Rock missing the show. This is the smart way to plan around the WWE champion’s limited schedule.
Question on Everyone’s Mind: Is The Rock There Enough to Be Champion?
Many wrestling fans do not see the issue with The Rock missing sporadic shows during his latest return to the WWE ring, but this isn’t just a part-time star missing time; the company decided to make him the top champion.
The Rock will miss several more shows before WrestleMania on top of this Monday, and the lack of the brand-new WWE Championship belt on TV will not help the impact the strap was supposed to make on the fans.
Hype Meter: 4 out of 5 Dirtsheet Spoilers
As much as the fans complain about the Internet and wrestling being spoiled, many fans wouldn’t tune in to Monday’s Raw without The Rock if they hadn’t heard that Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker were reportedly set to appear.
WWE is clearly switching back and forth between the appearances of the part-time stars to get the most out of the duo’s schedules, but that doesn’t make up for the lack of a WWE champion on every broadcast.
WWE Rumors: The Rock missing several shows before WrestleMania (WrestleZone).
Jack Swagger’s Situation
Simply put, World Heavyweight Championship No. 1 contender Jack Swagger screwed up royally when he was arrested last week for DUI and possession of marijuana (h/t TMZ). Now the WWE Universe will get its first taste of what the company has in store for Swagger.
The rumors were that the talented in-ring worker would win the World title at WrestleMania (h/t Wrestling Inc.), but the arrest has clouded the future for the budding star and his controversial gimmick.
Question on Everyone’s Mind: Will WWE Abandon Zeb Colter?
When Swagger returned before the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view with a new ultra-conservative gimmick and a new mouthpiece in Zeb Colter, WWE had finally packaged the former jobber in a way that would be interesting and relevant.
It was so great seeing a controversial character that would push the envelope on what was politically correct, but the fact that Swagger was arrested has compromised all the hard work put into this angle and the future of the storyline.
Hype Meter: 3 out of 5 Stupid Mistakes
WWE was all-in on Swagger’s controversial character, and Monday’s edition of Raw will reveal how the company will handle the No. 1 contender moving toward April’s supershow.
There is a precedent for allowing him to work through the next show, as seen in Rob Van Dam's situation in 2006 (h/t Ironton Tribune and WWE.com), then serve his suspension, but it’s almost a guarantee now that the former champion will not win the title at WrestleMania 29.
WWE Rumors: Latest on World title scene (Wrestling Observer Newsletter h/t Wrestling Inc.).