We are now 12 days from the "Grandaddy of Them All," WrestleMania.
As we have seen the past few weeks, the road to WrestleMania is used to generate huge excitement for the event.
But one word can sum up Raw last night: Terrible.
This is the type of Raw you would expect in the middle of June—months removed from WrestleMania and months until SummerSlam.
From the beginning, you could tell this wasn't going to be a high-quality Raw, when you had Michael Cole coming down to the ring dressed as good ole JR. It's interesting that they pulled this off, given the intense heat WCW came under when they impersonated JR towards the end of their run (down to having Cole have cotton in his mouth, which is terrible).
Next, we had Triple H come out and cut virtually the same promo as he did three weeks ago. Parts of it were nearly word for word. Then, to have Ted DiBiase come out and interrupt him made absolutely no sense.
Unless Triple H's next feud is with DiBiase, which I highly doubt, then what was the point of doing this and making DiBiase look even worse?
Following was a short match between Sheamus and Evan Bourne to try and rebuild Shemaus' credibilty, and then it was announced that Sheamus would face Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania for the US title. This was a necessary part of the show to develop the storyline, but nothing earth-shattering.
What Grade Would You Give Raw?
Eve Torres vs. Maryse was once again interrupted by Michael Cole, which leads me to wonder, how much longer will the WWE Divas continue to be disgraced like this? Yes, it is a worked angle, and the point is to build Cole as an even bigger heel, but they have to feel extremely disrespected when the little wrestling exposure they get is constantly interrupted by Cole.
Next, there was another segment featuring Cole talking more about Jerry Lawler's past. I will stop here; if you read this and the previous four paragraphs, that is already three mentions of Michael Cole playing a major role in a segment.
Listen, I understand that you want to make the Cole/Lawler match a top draw, but this is a match between two announcers that you are continuing to waste time on, limiting the exposure of other superstars. I am growing tired of seeing Cole assault Lawler every week, when it is a foregone conclusion that Lawler will win at WrestleMania.
In between Cole segments, there was the interesting combination of Santino, Kozlov, the Big Show and Kane vs. the Corre. Please don't tell me this is going to be a match at WrestleMania.
First off, I think that Wade Barrett can still be a top draw in the company, but it's unbelievable to think that as of two months ago he was going to face the Undertaker at WrestleMania, and now is just getting thrown into a match.
In addition, when in the hell was it decided that Kane would become a face? I know that in the past few weeks he has been helping the Big Show vs. the Corre, but it is confusing to say the least.
The John Morrison/Trish Stratus vs Dolph Ziggler/Vicki Guerrero/LayCool match was lackluster for the most part. Once the match was turned into a mixed tag match, I completely lost interest. Plus, what does it say about the direction of the younger stars when you have Morrison get pinned by Vicki?
The CM Punk/Randy Orton segment is the only segment on Raw that provided substantial impact to a WrestleMania storyline. Although having Orton have a tour bus (all I could think about was the Lex Express) seemed kind of odd, I liked the addition of Orton's wife and Punk hitting Orton with the wrench. It makes it much more interesting going into WrestleMania, especially after Orton was approaching Super Cena territory.
The final segment featured another promo by the Miz, where he finally received a new championship belt. It made absolutely no sense for the spinner belt to still exist, given that the fad went out about five years ago, and Cena hasn't been champion in nearly a year.
In my opinion, when you strip away all the surprise appearances by the Rock, Stone Cold, etc., the Miz is one of the only bright spots on Raw these days. He continues to cut great promos—and if you noticed, the crowd is actually starting to get behind him (surprising, I know).
Finally, Cena ran to the ring in a move that surprised no one (how could he criticize the Rock for appearing via satellite every week and then not be there?) and took on the Miz and Alex Riley, resulting in a beat-down for Riley.
Overall, what was Creative thinking when they wrote Raw? There was no major advancement of any storyline—besides the CM Punk attacking Orton and playing mind games with his wife—and WrestleMania is less than two weeks away.
The Triple H/Undertaker match continues to go nowhere. I'm sorry, but just having the storyline being "we are the last two remaining of a generation" doesn't really interest me.
Cole/Lawler continues to be the same story, everyone knew that Sheamus/Bryan were going to have a rematch at WrestleMania, and it is a disservice to Morrison and Ziggler that they are being wasted in a mixed tag match.
Hopefully, with the Rock returning next week live, WWE Creative has something better than this week's Raw. Because if they don't, I am sincerely concerned about WrestleMania.