Raw this week went old school, a clichéd phrase I hate and which was used about 20 times per minute throughout the night. Really it means old but not in a bad way, but we already have a word for that: classic. Maybe that's not down with the kids enough, but then neither is the whole appeal to nostalgia that is the concept.
Talking of old school, everyone's favourite ridiculous gimmick wrestler opened the show. Or at least, he sort of did. He did his entrance as a pre-show teaser, but then wasn't there at the start of the show.
CM Punk opened the post-title sequence show and said that, without being in the main event at WrestleMania, there won't be much reason for him to be there. Before we had too much of a chance to sarcastically say "Gee, I wonder where this is going," he announced his intention to challenge The Undertaker.
It wasn't the Deadman (or, you could say, the Very-old-man) who interrupted though, but Randy Orton, The Big Show and Sheamus. Most people have been itching for CM Punk to face Methuselah, but as Sheamus validly pointed out, he's never faced him and is the only one to not have jobbed to Taker already.
I'm not a fan of Sheamus, but his first match with The Big Show last year showed that he can put on a good match in the right circumstances.
Furthermore, CM Punk's lost enough lately without taking another loss from the oldest man alive. Of course, Sheamus, Orton and The Big Show are all tangled up with The Shield at the moment, so it's not as if Punk's challenging would be in any doubt. "Old school" for this segment apparently meant "SmackDown" as Managing Supervisor Vickie Guerrero came out to make a Fatal 4-Way between them.
Ryback vs. Antonio Cesaro kicked off the real action. At one point Ryback was knocked off of the apron onto the "old school barricade," to genuinely quote Michael Cole. On the subject of Cole, why not call it Vintage Raw? Anyway, Ryback old school won. His tense staredown with Mark Henry afterwards, now that's something unexpected that I can really get behind. Even more than seeing Henry squash Zack Ryder.
Woooooo-ic Flair was in the corner for The Miz's match against Dolph Ziggler. Sadly things weren't so old school that we didn't have tweets scrolling across the bottom of the screen, with various people vapidly old school telling us how much they old school love old school Raw. It was even more irritating than the N-ancient-ure Boy pratting about on the outside and not being rewarded with a clubbing from Big E Langston.
"This is old school!" said Jerry Lawler as The Rock entered the ring. It is? Why didn't someone say!? All right, I promise I won't mention it again. Shame they didn't promise the same.
The Rock took five minutes to tell us it was colder in Buffalo than in Panama, before John Cena interrupted him. I was getting deja vu, and not just from the o** s***** paraphernalia. In fairness, though, this promo between the two was very good, and managed to hold off the feeling of having seen it all before.
Jack Swagger absolutely clocked Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Sgt. Slaughter and Dusty Rhodes with the 2x4, which gave me great joy. The picture of The Undertaker used throughout the night featuring him with no hair wearing his hat originally put me in mind of Freddy Krueger, but so help me, if his hat was green rather than black then I could not tell him from Sarge.
"Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase is someone I was happy to see, mainly because his theme song is hilarious. Daniel Bryan robbing the money out of Darren Young's mouth was very funny too. It was a fairly minor segment but my favourite use of an oldie in the show up to that point.
The Honky Tonk Man smashed his guitar over Heath Slater's head. More went on in the segment that that (including a "match"), but that's what we were waiting for and that's what we eventually got.
Fandango once again built us up to let us down as he did not debut. I already prefer him to Kofi Kingston anyway.
Triple H, the single worst thing in the past 15 years of wrestling, made his return to the mic. Unfortunately he still inspires enough reverence from the crowd that a "You wet yourself!" chant didn't start up, so there was nothing of worth in the segment whatsoever.
Alberto Del Rio defeated Wade Barrett in only the show's second (or, viewed generously, third) proper wrestling match. So really, they weren't so old school as to include more than a handful of proper matches.
The scores of old wrestlers brought back up to this point were to varying levels of success, but I adore The New Age Outlaws. Seeing them defeat Primo and Epico got me thinking. A year ago that would have won them the Tag Team Championships. Why not have it happen now?
It was Mae Young's 90th birthday. I know, right? Only 90. This was used as an excuse to break kayfabe with pals Mark Henry, Great Khali and Ryback standing around singing Happy Birthday. CM Punk interrupting it with his entrance made me audibly laugh.
The Fatal 4-Way was a great match. I especially enjoy seeing Sheamus and The Big Show lock up, and everyone got some good moves in. Then of course, CM Punk and The Undertaker had a good old-fashioned staredown.
What can you say about Raw? Apart from that it was old school, obviously. I think things picked up from The Rock and Cena promo onwards, aside from Triple "damp" H's contribution. All the pieces are being put in place for WrestleMania. We can see what's coming from a mile off, but it can't really be done any other way.