PARKS'S TAKE PARKS'S TAKE: Last night's Raw represented a flat tire on the road to Wrestlemania
Mar 19, 2013 - 5:04:49 PM
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Around November and December, there always seems to be a wealth of optimism for the upcoming Wrestlemania season. This year was no different. The possibility of a C.M. Punk vs. Undertaker match, plus the elevation of the Shield, another three-star plus match with The Rock and John Cena, and Dolph Ziggler possibly being involved in the World Title situation was enough to make even the most negative fan soften. It's the time where Wrestlemania cards are but dreams, with everyone trying to put the most positive spin on the lineup.
Then the Road to Wrestlemania hits. Usually, there are a few bumps in the road, but it's mostly positive. Even three hour Raws become tolerable. Yet after last night's Raw, it almost felt like the wheels were coming off. It wasn't necessarily a "bad" Raw, but it was just so boring, which is almost a worse sin to commit at this time of year.
When a slam-dunk storyline like C.M. Punk vs. The Undertaker hits a lull in week three, you know it's not a good sign. Taker showed up to Raw and Punk toyed with the urn on the Titan Tron. Taker's response was...silence. And WWE went to commercial. It was a weird situation all around and likely didn't get anyone more amped for that match than before the night began.
The rumors of a Chris Jericho vs. Fandango Mania match seemed like some sort of practical joke. Yet there we saw Fandango interrupting a Jericho promo backstage. And that's apparently how the feud is to begin. Then again, it could be just a tease and Jericho could be involved in the ever-changing Intercontinental Title situation. First it was Wade Barrett vs. Bo Dallas. Then that was dropped and they seemed to be going toward Barrett vs. Sheamus. Now it looks like Barrett vs. The Miz. This herky-jerky booking has taken a toll on the Mania undercard.
Another example is how WWE transitioned Ryback from the six-man tag match with Sheamus and Randy Orton vs. The Shield, to a singles match with Mark Henry. WWE had been dropping hints toward a Henry vs. Ryback match for the last few weeks, yet they had Ryback accept Sheamus and Orton's invitation to join them in taking on The Shield. There were plenty of creative ways for WWE to get Ryback out of that match and into one with Henry. Instead, the payoff was...Vickie Guerrero taking him out of the match and pitting him against Henry. Really? That's the best they could do?
Even the main event matches were duds when it came to hype last night. The Rock was not on the show, and the best WWE could come up with for John Cena is having him interact with Titus O'Neil and Darren Young, subsequently beating Young handily. I don't have a problem with the result, but the whole interaction, with O'Neil playing a different character, felt so random.
The final segment of Triple H vs. Paul Heyman seemed so much worse because of the dreck we had to sit through before it. All for...wait for it...a No Holds Barred match with Triple H's career on the line. That's Triple H, the semi-retired wrestler, putting his two or three matches per year on the line. Again - that's the best they could come up with?
I may be down on last night's Raw, but WWE still has a few weeks to turn the ship around. It'll be interesting to watch things progress from here. If there's ever a time to believe in WWE creative, it's Wrestlemania time, so don't write them off quite yet.
Greg Parks has been a columnist for Pro Wrestling Torch since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @gregmparks for live Tweeting during Raw, Impact, and PPVs, as well as other bits of wisdom. Comments, questions and feedback are welcome, and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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