A Look on the Bright Side: Pre-Mania Raw (Rock/Cena/Miz, Punk, Orton)

Wrestlemania is just a few days away, so now is the time to convince anyone still on the fence about spending 50 or 60 bones on the PPV. Did Vince and Co. succeed? Let’s find out!

The Other Stuff

What a week, eh? I keep up on a lot of political topics through a dozen or so blogs, but I don’t like to force it onto anyone who isn’t interested. However, there were a few things this week that were tough to ignore, such as:

Last year, GE made $14.2B in profits and paid exactly ZERO dollars in federal taxes. In fact, they got a $3.2B tax credit. The next time someone tells you that taxes in this country are too high, please hit them with a shovel.

We’ve gotten to the point where 13% of all houses in the US are vacant. Having built my own house and dealt with enough incompetent/corrupt contractors and inspectors to drive me to the brink of bankruptcy, I can’t say I’m overly shocked.

Some idiot in Indiana actually wrote an email saying it would be a good idea to fake an assassination attempt in Wisconsin, in order to get the media on their side. Gee, what could possibly go wrong?

‎”The notion of having future generations pick the tab — literally, the entire tab — for one generation’s military/combat efforts has traditionally been unthinkable. Indeed, the only president in American history to actually cut taxes and launch a war was George W. Bush — and he added $5 trillion to the debt en route to becoming the single most fiscally irresponsible chief executive the country has ever seen.”

And despite all of this, how do you know that Fox News is truly desperate for ways to attack President Obama? Because they had an extended segment on… the annual White House Easter Egg Hunt. Yes, seriously.

And speaking of seriously: as a recovering alcoholic, I’d like to send out big kudos to Scott Hall for taking his recovery seriously, and recognizing that attending the WWE Hall of of Fame Induction would be a monstrous trigger. I always loved Hall and Nash on the mic, and thought the NWO invasion was the best performed angle in pro wrestling history (up until the Hogan vs. Sting match), and I have spent years hoping Hall could somehow find a way to control his demons. I’m glad to see that might actually be happening now – since I’ve seen too many addicts that weren’t able to do so in time.

Now, let’s get off these serious subjects, and talk about large men hitting each other:

Monday Night Raw

1. Letting CM Punk open the Chicago Raw was a wise move, since it immediately gets the crowd involved, and lets Punk establish his heel credentials right off the bat after he tells the audience he doesn’t care about them. (Also, it’s never a bad idea to showcase one of the best talkers in the company.)

2. Now, concerning Randall Keith Orton, I just have one question: why do wrestlers become complete idiots when they switch from heels to faces? Seriously — what possible reason does Orton have for limping down to the ring when a taped-up knee, when he gets Punk in the ring in 6 days? Why couldn’t he figure out that running on an injured knee was a bad idea BEFORE he tried it? Orton is “the Viper” and “the Legend Killer” and blahblahblah – he’s shown a real killer instinct in the very recent past, so why did he forget ALL of that when he became a face? The modern crowd has shown they are sophisticated enough to appreciate sneak attics and other antics from faces when they’re justified, so why not use any of that in this feud?

3. And for the love of Pete – will someone PLEASE sit Orton down and show him videotape of CM Punk during this entire segment, simply so he learns how to make a facial expression that doesn’t look like some combination of “I just ate a whole lemon”, “I need to make a BM right away”, and/or “there is a gnat buzzing around my head”?

4. Edge and Christian, teaming up once again! I almost SQUEE’ed, but then I remembered that I’m a 41 year old father of two.

5. Normally, I’m pretty adamant about keeping the Raw and SD rosters separate, but highlighting the Edge/Christian/Del Rio match on Raw really makes a lot of sense, since right now the company’s only focus should be getting more PPV buys. (Plus, it gave Edge an excuse to talk about the Anonymous Raw GM’s “stupid sound effect”, which I appreciated.)

6. Brodus Clay is… an interestingly shaped man. Y’know, there’s been some medical research on the dangers of males who are “pear shaped” as opposed to “apple shaped”. What do they say about a guy who’s shaped like a cantalope with legs?

7. Someone please explain the purpose of putting air holes in “the Cole Mine” — a glass box that has no lid?

8. Watching Kane doing the “Seventy-Six Trombones Led the Big Parade” post-match celebration with Santino was probably the highlight of my girlfriend Autumn’s evening. (At least, until I got her upstairs later – BAZINGA!)

9. I know this has been said a million times before, but how amazing are the video guys in WWE? I swear these guys could make any storyline look dramatic and exciting – I remember them doing a retrospective on the Underfaker storyline that even made THAT cluster-f&ck seem coherent. I’d like to send them a personal challenge to somehow make the Gobbley-gooker look like an interesting character.

10. I love the Undertaker. I love his entrance (all 27 minutes of it). And I absolutely adore Johnny Cash’s music. But, Johnny Cash’s music as the UT’s entrance theme? Sorry, no – not a fan. Entrance themes, with very very few exceptions, should make you want to run through a wall. Under no circumstances should it ever sound like it involves a banjo.

11. However, UT does gain about a million points back for that “BONG” that interrupted HHH’s entrance just before the “Roaring Lion” pose – nice touch.

12. A little more than halfway through HHH’s fluff of UT, Autumn remarked: “Undertaker looks like he’s going to cry. I really don’t think he expected Triple H to say all of that.”

13. A “mutual respect” angle is the toughest to pull off well. It’s a true testament to the history, work ethic, and abilities of these two men in and out of the ring that this is going as strong as it.

14. After the aborted Superkick attempt, I got a big kick out of HHH’s “Don’t pick on my friend!” move. As for HBK’s exit from the ring – I guess he had to return some videotapes.

15. Did I just hear Cole call Daniel Bryan a “nerd”? No mirrors in the Cole Mine, eh?

16. For those of you who have actually watched The Jersey Shore before: was Snooki actually drunk during those bar skits, or is that just how she talks all the time? (For that matter – can you tell the difference?)

17. Rocky’s entrance was fun, and listening to him on the mic is always a pleasure. It certainly did make me miss the Attitude Era, my favorite pro wrestling period ever. But, for all of that — and believe me, I never thought I’d type these words:

18. Cena absolutely OWNED The Rock on the mic tonight. Words cannot express how amazed I am by that – I had no idea Cena had that in him.

See you all on Monday for Wrestlemania reactions, and the launch of my new column.

You stay classy, wrestling fans.

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