Twenty-four hours ago was the event which starts the Road To Wrestlemania, and it certainly set a lot of moving pieces into their starting positions. From here, we have a few ideas for what matches will take place at Wrestlemania.
Each week I give the GuysNation perspective on what transpires for RAW (and then again on Friday for Smackdown) in the form of questions, comments and (in the case of the GuysNation version of this article because I can't put them everywhere) polls.
Tonight, I start the article off by listing some of the questions which are currently running through my head, most of which stem from last night's Royal Rumble.
No, my first question isn't about Alberto Del Rio's choice of World Championships he will be targeting with his guaranteed World Championship Wrestlemania match. It's gotta be Edge, right? Not necessarily. The Elimination Chamber event makes it easy to shuffle up who the respective World Champions are going into Wrestlemania, and my understanding is that Alberto Del Rio doesn't have to make his decision tonight. Technically he's on Smackdown, so he doesn't even necessarily have to show up tonight.
My main question, since WWE likes to put the majority of its focus on John Cena, is who he'll be squared up against as we head into Wrestlemania. It used to look like CM Punk was going to be his feuding partner, but with Punk screwing Orton out of a championship win against The Miz last night, and The Miz screwing John Cena out of the Royal Rumble Final Foursome, it looks like the original Punk v Cena feud is on hiatus. That is, unless they're going to go with a Fatal Fourway at Wrestlemania. I suppose the Elimination Chamber match will make that all the more clear, but something tells me that we'll get at least a few hints tonight that won't force us to wait three weeks before we understand what Wrestlemania is shaping up to be for Punk / Orton / Cena / Miz.
Which show is Booker T going to be on? And what about Kevin Nash... sorry, I mean Diesel? Are they even going to stay on the active roster, or was that a one-time thing for both of them?
Is Bryan Danielson going to get a United States Championship title defense at the next pay per view? Could they possibly put him in the Elimination Chamber? Having him come out first and work with CM Punk was a pretty big deal, in my opinion, and they're putting more focus on him now that they've involved Gail Kim in his lady-trouble storyline.
Have they given up on John Morrison? A couple months ago he seemed like a distinct possibility to get a pay per view main event title shot, and now he seems like he's taking a backseat. The best likelihood for him at Wrestlemania is the Money In The Bank ladder match to earn him another title shot, but there's always the potential for him to work his way into something else before then. (See: The United States Championship situation)
RAW is getting started, so let's table the other questions and get down to business.
So to start off the show, we find out that last week's match between Edge and The Miz, Champion vs Champion, which ended in a no contest, will be contested again tonight, and it's now our understanding that there MUST be a winner!
As we head to the ring, surprise, it's Alberto Del Rio to start off the show... and in addition to his ring announcer, Alberto Del Rio's entrance is accompanied by Mariachi band. With trumpeters and a couple of guys on strings, does he really need the car horn to signal his entrance?
Tonight, we apparently get the "opportunity" to celebrate Alberto Del Rio's win at the Royal Rumble, even though he says we apparently don't deserve it. I'm thinking that if we don't deserve it, we just live up to what we've become and we let him go backstage and party by himself. Anyone else agree?
Alberto Del Rio has apparently already made his decision on which World championship he's going to vie for at Wrestlemania, but before he makes the announcement, ADR is interrupted by The Miz.
Interestingly enough, The Miz says he hopes Alberto chooses The Miz's championship for Wrestlemania, but then The Miz goes on to tell Del Rio about Edge's reaction to Alberto winning the Rumble last night. ADR apparently sees right through it, and at this point I'm not quite sure whether WWE Creative wants us to side with one of those guys instead of the other, but given the somewhat positive reaction the fans gave Del Rio during his entrance, they should be careful when giving fans even a little bit of reason to like one of their heels.
Edge apparently is in the house as well, and he shows up to get into Del Rio's face, explaining that he wouldn't talk about someone behind their back when he could easily make fun of them to their face.
Alberto makes his announcement, and he's targeting Edge and the World Heavyweight Championship for Wrestlemania.
Did he really think that through? What if someone with less skill wins one of the Elimination Chamber matches, or the winner of that match gets injured in the process? Wouldn't that be enough reason to target that person instead? And what if Undertaker wins the Heavyweight strap in Smackdown's Elimination Chamber? Wouldn't he be smart to decide to go after the WWE Title at that point and avoid the undefeated Dead Man at Wrestlemania?
Oh well, it's Alberto's funeral.
When we come back from the commercial break, they recap the opening segment, and Jerry Lawler comments on Del Rio's actions in attacking Edge by saying "It just goes to show that if you've got cash, you don't need to have class". Oh really? Edge attacked Alberto Del Rio first, and because Del Rio got the advantage in the fight and ended up hurting Edge in the process, suddenly he has no class? Just because ADR is the bad guy, that doesn't mean he's in the wrong any time he does anything.
Anonymous General Manager speaks by way of written communication, and it's actually a significant announcement which I'll break down for you now:
1 - there will be a "RAW Rumble" tonight, which the local fans loved the sound of, until they found out that it was only 7 guys deep (18% of what you saw last night... if you watched the ppv)
2 - the RAW Elimination Chamber match will NOT be for the World Championship. The winner of the RAW Rumble will get the title shot at Elimination Chamber, and the remaining individuals who didn't win the RAW Rumble will be in the Elimination Chamber match (the winner of which gets a prize they haven't mentioned yet)
Due to the power of the DVR PAUSE BUTTON, I'm going to predict not only the 7 contestants for the RAW Rumble, but I'll also predict the winner.
Contestants: John Cena, CM Punk, Randy Orton, Sheamus, John Morrison, Mark Henry, Daniel Bryan
Winner: John Morrison
Now to unpause and figure out how many of those names I got wrong.
3* - Randy Orton (1/1), CM Punk (2/2), John Morrison (3/3), R-Truth (3/4), Sheamus (4/5), Jerry Lawler (4/6), and John Cena (5/7)
That's alright, I was shaky on Henry and Bryan being in the Elimination Chamber anyway.
Now we go directly to the opening contest, which is for the tag team championship.
Match - New Nexus (Husky Harris & Mike McGillicutty) vs Santi-Koz (c)
This match actually gives me hope that the tag titles might be on the line at the upcoming pay per view.
When we come back from commercial, did anyone else find it ironic that right after the announcers mentioned that Santino was horizontal the majority of the commercial break, they then mention Santino's girlfriend Tamina? Were this not TV-PG, there could've been a good follow-up there.
So shortly after we're back from the commercial, Mike McGillicutty falls out of the ring over the top rope thanks to Santino, and then Santino hits the COBRA.
Outcome - Santi-Koz retain the titles in a clean victory over the budding tag team.
Did WWE really have to do that? With Randy Orton coming out and giving an RKO to Harris and McGillicutty, why couldn't those guys have tried to cheat, and then Orton shows up and puts a stop to it and we can continue the Santi-Koz / Nexus Tag Team feud? Nope, kick the tag titles aside because they don't matter, right?
Before Randy Orton can boot Husky Harris in the skull, CM Punk shows up and tells Orton not to use that boot, threatening him with "serious consequences and reprocussions". Since Orton isn't the type to think about his actions, he takes a moment to staredown Punk (who is sooo concerned about the situation that he and his backup don't leave the top of the ramp), then he runs in and boots Husky in the head... and it's not until that point that Nexus shows up, but there's plenty of time and Randy Orton escapes.
Why is it that if one of the members of Punk's Nexus had to be put on the shelf, they choose Husky Harris instead of David Otunga?
(if you're not reading this on GuysNation, you've already missed a couple of my famous reader-response polls)
Oh good, it's a Ted DiBiase match. Let's see who the lucky opponent is who is about to pick up a victory while we stare at Maryse.
Apparently this might not be a match, even though DiBiase is wearing his ring trunks and is ready to wrestle, but he's got a mic in hand, and he's asking Lawler to give him his spot in tonight's RAW Rumble.
In a weird display, Michael Cole takes the microphone and starts defending Lawler... but then calls Jerry self-centered and egotistical, saying there's no way that Lawler would give DiBiase his spot in the RAW Rumble. Jerry confirms that he's not giving up his spot, and then talks about how he has NEVER competed in a match at Wrestlemania in the past 18 years... and I'm fearful that he might actually do it. Lawler then promises to win the RAW Rumble, and then DiBiase gives him a cheapshot and knocks him into Michael Cole, but as Lawler chases after DiBiase, Ted Jr pulls Maryse in between them, which angers Maryse enough to slap DiBiase and walk off, giving Lawler the opportunity to punch DiBiase, knocking him out.
I guess I was wrong, there wasn't a match, but Lawler did get a victory, and Maryse takes one step closer to a face-turn... though she'll probably accompany DiBiase next week regardless of the fact that she could easily find another guy backstage to "accompany".
For a brief moment, we get a cryptic commercial which culminates with a fiery indication that something is going to happen on February 21, 2011. Don't know what that's all about, and while I'd like to speculate it has something to do with Undertaker, I'm not even going to bother to spend time thinking about it and analyzing it.
Coming back from commercial, it's a match I'm very excited about... but not optimistic about, given the announce table situation)
Match - Daniel Bryan (w/ Gail Kim) vs Tyson Kidd
Just as I expected, a decent match in the ring, but it mostly gets ruined by the announcers focusing on talking to the Bella Twins about the situation involving Daniel Bryan and the tensions between them and Gail Kim.
Outcome - Daniel Bryan wins with the LaBell lock
After the match, Gail Kim celebrates in the ring, but she looks over her shoulder repeatedly while waiting for the Bella Twins, who eventually show up and they all tussle, with both of the Bella Twins looking to possibly have a wardrobe malfunction in the process. Might I commend them for trying to brawl in tube-tops.
On the return from this commercial break, it's time for the World Champions' Square Down
Match - The Miz vs The Edge (sorry, U2 joke, I realize it's just "Edge")
A decent match, with The Miz actually working some psychology, working over the arm with various moves, including a falling armbreaker which looked like a modified stunner. Does The Miz have a signature submission hold? Now might be the time to start trying to establish one if he doesn't yet.
Why, all of a sudden, does this match HAVE to have a winner? This isn't some huge long blood feud which would continue next week if there isn't a winner. It's not like anything other than bragging rights is on the line. Furthermore, if there must be a winner, why would the referee even count when both men are laid out on the mat? He got to 8 before either of them moved... what would have happened if he had counted 10? Would the match simply restart, since there has to be a winner?
Apparently something exciting is transpiring in the crowd, because the fans would rather look up there than to watch the two World Champions in the ring... and it turns out to be John Cena, and he provides a little distraction.
Outcome - Edge hit the spear to get the win.
How is The Miz still World Champion when he's THIS bad at wrestling-logic? John Cena starting a chant amongst the crowd, showing no signs of rushing the ring to make a physical attack, distracts The Miz enough to allow Edge to setup and hit his signature move? His head is as empty as that briefcase Alex Riley carries around with him.
Stone Cold is going to host WWE's Tough Enough? How can that have not been announced last night?! They're right, that is pretty huge news! In addition to his star power, Austin has great knowledge of the business, and he's got a lot to offer, and that makes Tough Enough infinitely more interesting!
Vickie Guerrero promises that on Smackdown, Edge will be forced to defend the World Heavyweight Championship in a way that it has never been defended before. Is anyone else glad she's not smart enough to consider the fact that, based on the stipulations set forth by her less than a week ago, that what Edge did SHOULD have cost him the Heavyweight Championship? She didn't say "if the referee sees you use the Spear you'll lose the belt". She said "it's illegal, and if you use it, you'll lose the belt". She needs a lawyer... or at least to pay attention.
Diva's tag match time!
Match - Eve Torres & Natalya vs LayCool
So Eve is walking around with Natalya's Diva's Championship belt, a title that Natalya lost without even getting pinned by Eve, and suddenly they're supposed to tag together? I guess Natty isn't the jealous type.
And before the match begins, we find out that LayCool isn't upset with one another for what happened last night? McCool kicked Layla in the face (albeit inadvertantly) and Layla got pinned while Michelle was pinning Natalya... and they're not the least bit angry with one another? I realize there could be some low-level tensions there as they started hinting at, but if they wanted that seed of doubt to remain, they shouldn't have made the hug look so sincere.
Is anyone else really impressed with some of the moves that Natalya and McCool used near the beginning of the match? They're doing things that some of the guys haven't been doing lately, and I'm not even talking about things like hair-pulling.
Why would Layla act scared of Natalya, running around to avoid her? I don't remember anything like that happening last night, and Layla actually handles herself nicely in the ring and hasn't shown fear like that before.
With Eve Torres and Layla fighting so close to where Michelle McCool is waiting in the corner, why would Natalya get into the ring and risk a referee distraction that could lead to her partner being double-teamed? Not very good wrestling smarts.
Outcome - Layla hits her flip-over stunner on Eve Torres to get a pinfall after Michelle McCool gets involved with a big boot from the outside.
The announce team makes an interesting point about how the referee is only one man and can't see everything. After all these years, why is there still just one referee per match? Couldn't there be two referees for tag matches and certain Fatal Fourways and the like? Look how many referees and judges and umpires they have in football, hockey, basketball, and baseball.
We're nearly at the 90 minute mark, which means we're getting very close to main event time, and suddenly we get another tag match...?
Match - The Usos vs Mark Henry & The Great Khali
Great, so the two big guys who have, at times, been roped into gimmicks where they play up some weird Ladies Men gimmicks (Sexual Chocolate and the Punjabi Playboy), and not only are they randomly paired, but the match becomes a dance-off!
This is just barely a passable idea when the Divas are the ones dancing, and they did alright with it when Santino and Kozlov were the ones dancing, but with two guys who no one cares about, going up against two guys who aren't good at moving in the ring when they're supposedly working their chosen professional craft?
At least we don't have to find out who won the Dance Off, as The Usos attack Henry and Khali... only to get dominated. Maybe this will start a little feud to help the Usos get some more heat, allowing WWE to determine if they should keep the Usos or cut them loose.
Yet again, a 2.21.11 promo... and I've got people chirping at me about who they think it is... and if they're right, it deserves its own article.
So Triple H is in a movie? Just like Legendary, the first part of this preview looks decent. Jamie Gertz and the middle child from Modern Family seem like they're decent in their roles, and the first few scenes they show make it look like Triple H has a decent role too.... but as the commercial for The Chaperone continues, I end up rolling my eyes too many times to figure out just how terrible it's going to be, but apparently the bad guys are showing up to get something from Triple H's character, and they kidnap the girl, and it turns into some sort of Home Alone / Toy Soldiers style movie where the kids fight back with goofy tricks as Triple H tries to fight to get his daughter back. My head feels full just for trying to figure all that out, all the while trying not to sigh.
I'll be updating this article as the night progresses, doing my best to keep up with the live event! Admittedly, the GuysNation version of this article is my top priority, so that will be the most up-to-date, but it shouldn't be too far ahead!