A couple of things to discuss before we get into Raw…
So we’ve finally got a mini-development in the saga of CM Punk. He’ll apparently be appearing live this Sunday on an episode of AMC’s Talking Dead. Reportedly, he’ll be using his real name, Phil Brooks. Go figure, Punk is finally going to break his silence, and not only is he not going to be talking about WWE or wrestling, but the guy who gets the interview is Chris friggin’ Hardwick. Ugh…
In other news, Zack Ryder has a new YouTube show entitled “Zack Ryder’s Last Rezort.” The show looks like it’ll be more serious in nature, as opposed to “Z: True Long Island Story.” As he was with his old show, the real-life Matthew Cardona Jr. is in a position where he really has nothing to lose. He’s never been what I would call a great hand in the ring, but he did manage to entertain wrestling fans via YouTube, and as such he earned their respect. It’s still unbelievable to me that the fans were chanting for him at Survivor Series 2011 in Madison Square Garden, when The Rock was standing in the middle of the ring after his first match in years. That’s how powerful the so-called “Ryder Revolution” was at that time. But through a combination of bad booking decisions, and Ryder perhaps not having enough of an edge, his push fizzled out.
Is this Ryder’s chance to regain some of that lost momentum, and perhaps jumpstart his WWE career? Eh, maybe. I think the fans still like Zack. But at this point, it may be too little, too late. And if that’s the case, he’s got nothing to be ashamed of. Most wrestlers are lucky to get a fraction of the support he got from the WWE fans at the height of his popularity. Hell, in terms of fan support, one might even say Zack Ryder was the Daniel Bryan of 2011. So my hat’s off to him, and I hope his “Last Rezort” ends up working out.
Speaking of Daniel Bryan…
- The whole “Occupy Raw” thing was pretty damn cool. That sea of gray t-shirts made for a great visual, and hopefully a Raw moment that fans will remember for years to come.
But more importantly, the stage has finally been set for Wrestlemania XXX, and it’s what many of us have suspected for a few weeks now: Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H, with the stipulation being that if Bryan wins, he gets added to the main event. Was this the plan from the get-go? Probably not. But at this point, who cares? In the end, WWE did right by the fans. That’s what’s important. Now both Batista and Orton can be the heels, and Bryan can be the ultimate underdog.
What’s cool about this set-up is that in a way, it mimics both Wrestlemania X and Wrestlemania XXX. At X, both Bret Hart and Yokozuna pulled double duty. And at XX, we obviously had a triple threat main event. So to an extent this feels like a progression.
- I’d like to think the situation between CM Punk and WWE hasn’t adversely affected AJ Lee’s career. But considering she was recently beaten by Natalya, was pinned by one of the Bella Twins on Raw, and now has a title match coming up against Natalya on the newly live WWE Main Event…well, you get the idea. The women’s division may be about to turn into a Total Divas commercial. If that turns out to be the case, it truly sucks for AJ, considering how talented and unique she is, and how she’s ultimately been carrying the entire division on her back since she won the title. But if she has to drop the belt to someone, I’m glad it’s Natalya.
- Christian and Sheamus had a really good fight this week, and that Brogue Kick through the drum was a hell of a finish. Assuming they go with a match between these two at Wrestlemania, that match made for a hell of an appetizer. I wouldn’t be surprised if this culminated in a pay per view match where Christian’s career is on the line, and ultimately ends. He’d definitely be going out at the top of his game, as this match proved.
- The “Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal,” huh? Well sure, why not? They tend to have a pre-show battle royal before Wrestlemania, right? So why not put it on the show and use it to get somebody over? And I like the use of it as a tribute to Andre. However, I’m disappointed to read that Big E. in in the match. I was hoping, as always, to see the Intercontinental Championship defended at Wrestlemania.
- Not much to say about the Hulk Hogan/John Cena/Wyatt Family stuff. We knew Cena and Bray Wyatt would end up facing one another at Wrestlemania. And of course, it was only natural that Hogan and Cena end up in the ring together at some point. The only question now is whether Hogan continues to have a foot in the Cena/Wyatt feud. My guess is he will.
- On the subject of Bray Wyatt, I maintain that he needs to do a little less shouting during his promos, and be a bit more spooky and methodical. The scariest part of that pre-taped promo they did this week was Erick Rowan looking into the camera, and through the mask saying “Run.” It’s that creep factor that makes this group so interesting to watch, especially against a superhero character like John Cena.
- When the internet started to buzz that The Undertaker had an “announcement” to make this week, I was actually wondering if he was going to announce his retirement after Wrestlemania XXX. Amid all the questionable decisions WWE has made lately, tossing ‘Taker’s retirement match on top of everything would have been the kicker to end all kickers. I feel like we dodged a bullet there…
Image 1 from amctv.com. All other images from WWE.com.
Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter at @PrimaryIgnition.
Like Primary Ignition on Facebook at Facebook.com/PrimaryIgnition.