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By Revin Samuel on 2/21/2012 1:48 PM

RAW – 20/2/12
Elimination Chamber Thoughts
•I was able to catch the Elimination Chamber pay per view and it was above average at best. WWE’s bubble seems to think people pay for a $55 pay per view to see them entertain us with overly scripted Raw promos and campy backstage skits that only Vince McMahon and a five year old would enjoy. The Santino Marella storyline worked out better than I thought, but he still wouldn’t have been the guy I went with in the Chamber replacing Randy Orton
What needs to be accomplished on this week’s show?
•It’s officially the six week stretch to the biggest show of the year and I hope the promotion and hype is on full blitz mode from here on out. WWE has a tendency to get cute and have too much fun with the product when they have excess weeks to promote a pay per view and I hope they won’t have that mindset heading into Wrestlemania. I hope WWE can resist doing the stupid car accident angle or any other big stunt in one of their top programs
•Chris Jericho-CM Punk. I like the way WWE was able to get out of Chris Jericho or CM Punk jobbing at the Elimination Chamber, but I still feel like Jericho needs a lot more gas behind him heading into Wrestlemania as Punk has no real reason to take him seriously. I feel like Jericho needed the title last night especially after the Royal Rumble loss, but I trust with the promo work of Jericho and Punk that they will be able to sell this match. I just hope WWE Creative can keep their creativity out of this storyline
•John Cena-Zack Ryder-Eve-Kane. I assume WWE wrapped up the Kane-John Cena portion of this storyline at the Elimination Chamber and now I hope they don’t forget to address what happened last week on Raw with Cena, Eve and Zack. I also don’t want them to try and disrespect the audience and make Cena out to be the good guy in all this. Zack needs to take revenge on Kane eventually and I hope WWE isn’t planning on sabotaging him any further just because he got over without the help of Stephanie and her sixteen person creative team
•Rock hype. Rock returns to Raw next week and WWE needs to promote the heck out of that
Resist attempts to manipulate the audience to cheer for John Cena. After watching the Elimination Chamber, it’s clear that Vince and his bubble are going to try and manipulate the audience into cheering John Cena through video packages and having the announcers condemn the crowd for booing him. The only issue is John Cena himself is unlikeable, he does bad comedy that makes him look like a Rock wannabe and they try and place him as The Rock’s equal when he’s far from it. WWE needs to treat the audience with respect and just go with the flow on this. I don’t expect that to happen at all and therefore I’m not sure how much I’ll enjoy this build outside of The Rock’s promo ability to make it work
Show Breakdown

  1. Well the fact that they are showing what happened on Raw from last week with Cena and Eve, lets us know that they aren’t going to just skim by it. Naturally what happened on the pay per view isn’t covered, because this company thinks its CSI and “episodic television, while the pay per view just gets in the way of them telling their story.

  1. Contrived over the top heel turn with Eve. I assume this has something to do with letting Cena save face and just as I write that she mentions his name. I’m not sure why the Bella’s are so shocked by Eve’s behaviour since they have similar character traits, but of course WWE doesn’t stay consistent with their characters. Eve’s explanation doesn’t work for me at all, but its standard for WWE and their loose writing style. I would have preferred Zack win Eve over by beating Kane, but then he denies her, but that would probably be too unrealistic in the eyes of Vince McMahon

  1. Oh god, John Cena is using his comedy voice.

  1. Ah yes WWE conveniently forgetting about how Cena kissed Eve back.

  1. It seems like Eve wants to tell the audience to shut up, but that would be differing from the script, and imagine what would happen if lowly Eve did that.

  1. Cena all of a sudden becomes a bad ass with his words. I guess if anything will get the adult male fans to cheer Cena that would be it. I still don’t like that WWE leaves out the part about Cena kissing Eve back, but perhaps they’ll address that when Ryder returns, although I doubt it.  

  1. Good to see Ryder is still getting a chant after all the garbage they’ve put him through. I have a feeling his character will eventually forgive Cena in yet another attempt by the company to get fans to cheer Cena.

  1. Watching this Undertaker video package, I have one question, how did Triple H win the war? I’m not surprised that they are making that a theme of this storyline as it is Triple H were talking about after all, but still he lost, yet he won? I know it tells a good story, I guess it wouldn’t bother me as much if it was anyone, but Triple H saying that.

  1. Sweet Taker video package by the way.

  1. I like the idea of Henry wrestling on Raw, but being suspended on Smackdown. Almost like Laurinaitis stepping on Teddy’s authority to help further that storyline.

  1. More asinine booking for WWE. I know Sheamus is the golden child right now, but you don’t beat Mark Henry clean on Raw in a five minute match. Once again WWE not thinking long term as Henry the top heel of 2011 joins the ranks of Ziggler, Miz, Del Rio, Christian, Barrett and Cody. Sheamus beating Mark Henry cleanly should have been a story to tell post Wrestlemania and WWE blew its load on a five minute Raw with it, because they’re so frigin short-sighted.

  1. Cute one liners from Teddy. The crowd seemed to dig it at least.

  1. Good to see the first plug for Rock’s return to Raw.

  1. I like Kofi doing some selling from the Elimination Chamber match. I don’t like that Kofi and Truth are all of a sudden teaming after competing against each other in the gruelling Elimination Chamber match from last night. WWE should tighten that stuff up, but I think that goes above the head of The Bubble at this point.

  1. Always good to see Rosa.

  1. I’m sure Kofi and Truth are happy. They compete in the Elimination Chamber last night and have to wrestle twice tonight.

  1. Great addition to the WWE Hall of Fame with Ron Simmons.

  1. A great promo from Chris Jericho. I expected him to be a bit bitter about having to compete in the battle royal and he should be for his heel character, but once again WWE drops the continuity of what fits from one show to the next. Some might say that’s nitpicking, but Jericho should really be putting up a fuss to have to compete in the battle royal since technically he wasn’t eliminated from the Elimination Chamber. Also shouldn’t this battle royal be the biggest match ever since the winner gets the Wrestlemania main event title spot, the same one was the Royal Rumble winner gets. This is why Jericho needed the title last night, because Punk would get an automatic rematch. Now they make the Rumble and the Chamber mean less by doing an battle royal on Raw for the Wrestlemania, WWE title shot. More short sighted thinking.

  1. Ezekiel Jackson vs David Otunga on live television? Oh my. I’m not sure an Ezekiel Jackson push is what I needed to see heading into Wrestlemania and thank god Otunga got the win. Jackson has jobbed to Jinder Mahal and David Otunga on consecutive shows that probably don’t bode well for him. Why is Cole so happy, he’s on both shows? If you are going to have him cheer for team Raw, perhaps Teddy should bring back JR for Smackdown? I know I can only dream. This was an okay segment to further the Laurinaitis-Teddy storyline, which btw I hope doesn’t lead to a match between the two, but each man picking guys to represent them.

  1. That music they had playing, while Taker’s feet were shown walking in the back really didn’t fit. I would have cut that from the show.

  1. Undertaker coming out and I’m guessing that he might show us a shaved head look tonight judging by his get up as he walks to the ring.

  1. Great line from Taker to Hunter about Shawn being better than him. Playing on the old insecurities of Triple H that we are all well aware of.  

  1. The crowd with a cute “prove it” chant. I like it

  1. Triple H accepts the challenge the place explodes and that is how making a match is done. The Hell in the cell stipulation got a huge reaction. I’m not sure how I feel about them putting that on Wrestlemania

  1. What the hell song has Kevin Dunn chosen to be played here? I hope they get rid of that next week. They’d be better off going back to Johnny Cash again, but I guess that wouldn’t be creative.

  1. Great segment, I thought we were going to get a sneak peak at Taker’s new hairstyle, but I guess not.

  1. I’m not sure if the next segment after Taker and Hunter is where I’d put the World Champion. It seems like a death wish segment for ratings, but I guess heading into Wrestlemania each piece of the show should mean something.

  1. Cole and Lawler making it official that Taker and HHH will be Hell in the Cell at Wrestlemania. I’m not sure I like the move, but I guess these two need all the bells and whistles to live up to expectations. Does Shawn still ref that match?

  1. I was holding my breath during that Bryan-Santino match. I figured they might give Santino a bit too much, but it was quick, although again Santino holding on too long in the bell lock.

  1. I stress again that I don’t like this battle royal nonsense at all to determine the #1 contender to Punk’s title. It hasn’t been made to feel important and totally devalues the Royal Rumble. This is why one of the Elimination Chamber matches should have been for the #1 contender ship.

  1. I am not looking forward to John Cena returning to do more horrible comedy.

  1. Ezekiel Jackson-David Otunga makes live television and now so does Aksana. I continue to despise this character of Aksana. I wonder if Kelly Kelly is looking to exit out WWE soon. She’s been around a long time and they really aren’t doing anything with her and she always falls for twin magic. Why was this match on Raw? I’m not usually a fan of Kelly, but I definitely liked her outfit tonight.

  1. The “Skankopotamus”. Let’s exam this for a one second, its cute line, but Cena doesn’t deliver it well. Imagine Rock saying that, with Rock’s charisma, he could drop that and it would get a laugh. Cena does it, and it’s just awkward. He has such bad comedy timing and isn’t at the charisma level of The Rock. He comes off as a B version of The Rock, which is the main reason he has been hated all this time. It’s not the audience being complacent with him, it’s not the audience rebelling against WWE, it’s the bad promos that have made his character so hateable.

  1. Cena tries to rip The Rock in Minnesota thinking the fans will turn on him and instead he gets a Rock chant. Vince must be losing his mind backstage.

  1. I’d like you to leave John so please stop telling us you’re not going anywhere. You aren’t going anywhere, because where else would you get such a sweet gig.  You’re doing WWE films, Rock isn’t. I hope this is pointed out at one point. It’s so great that Rock is so comfortable and secure in himself to allow these kind of shots to be taken. I can think of a few other performers who might not like it so much. Cena is trying everything in his power to manipulate the audience and use reserve psychology on them, “Rock will hold you in the palm of his hand next week”. Are you jealous John?

  1. A good intense promo from Cena, but it made me want to vomit. I don’t approve at all. It was fully of WWE propaganda nonsense. I give WWE credit for trying so hard to get the audience to cheer Cena to the point of acting like Cena saying “professional wrestler” and that Rock only came back to promote his movies was going against the script. The reality is we the smart fans know that’s not the case, and that’s why this stuff won’t work. The adult audience is too smart for it and won’t be manipulated by it. The real question is if Rock even addresses it.

  1. Also that previous segment showed how juvenile and petty Vince McMahon is. There was a time he had a loyal fan base who loved the letters WWE, I think alot of that fan base now watches out of pure habit, because there is only one major league promotion. If this happened five to ten years ago, it might have actually worked, nowadays I think people don’t relate, because they would do the exact same thing Rock has done. Infuriating promo by Cena.

  1. Looking forward to Punk on commentary, but he needs to stay away from destructive lines like “Someone has to make this show interesting”. Just as I type that Punk with a great line about not wanting to face Great Khali at Wrestlemania and I bet that is a 100% shoot.

  1. Why is Ziggler wearing a pink t-shirt on his tights? I guess he or WWE Creative don’t want us to take him seriously, kind of like the way they ruined R-Truth from ever being taken as a credible main eventer.

  1. Great shoot lines from Lawler and Punk on Miz. “Oh how the mighty have fallen” – Lawler. “Well it’s a good thing Miz isn’t headlining Wrestlemania” – Punk. Also bonus points for that sign in the crowd “Back to the mid card Miz”.

  1. The underdog Santino story continues, I hope they don’t take it too far though just because it worked one night at the pay per view.

  1. WWE giving Kofi nice showings in the Elimination Chamber and now the Battle Royal.

  1. Tough break for this Battle Royal, which was hindered by the distraction of the stretcher and Wade Barrett’s injury. Bad string of Raw’s here in the main event for injuries.

  1. Solid ending to the battle royal and establishing Jericho-Punk for Wrestlemania.

What this show accomplished?
The Good
•The top four Wrestlemania matches are setup and the blitz towards Wrestlemania certainly seemed to be on tonight
•Chris Jericho’s character got a fuel injection tonight. I still think they need to do more and I hope between his and Punk’s promos they can do that. Both men, but Punk especially needs to refrain himself from throwing out the counterproductive promos
•They did indeed address the John Cena-Eve kiss. I don’t like that they played it up like Cena didn’t kiss Eve back, but I won’t condemn them for that until Ryder is back and how he reacts to John. I could take a guess, but I’ll hold back for now. At least this appears to be wrapped up so Cena can focus fully on The Rock
Promote Rock’s return. They did this and reminded us several times that The Rock returns next week in Portland
•Undertaker-Triple H segment. Amazing segment, just brilliant. I don’t recall the last time WWE was able to get an audience to erupt for a match that wouldn’t be happening that same night  and the Hell in the Cell stipulation, but they got it done here. Triple H’s mic work has been rock solid the last few weeks and once Hunter came out, Undertaker was right with him. Love the “Hey Businessman” line and the stuff about Shawn being better than Taker. If Triple H would involve himself in more stories that play off his insecurities, he’d be alot more interesting. The Hell in the Cell in the open air stadium will be a cool visual. I wonder if Shawn will still ref the match. You know these two are getting all the bells and whistles to make sure their match can’t be topped.
•Teddy-Laurinaitis program. I am intrigued by this storyline, I just hope it doesn’t lead to Teddy vs John as our Michael Cole-Jerry Lawler match from last year
•John Cena gets intense. It’s too little, too late for me, but they are going to try their hardest to get fans to cheer John Cena.  I didn’t think many people outside of WWE would get behind what he was saying, but in checking out the PWInsider message board, it appears that a couple people have. It was a great promo from John, but there were just so many holes in what he was saying and you really have to wonder if Rock will plug those holes
The Bad
•WWE continues their attempt to manipulate the audience to cheer John Cena. I knew I wouldn’t be able to stand this going in and it was worse than I imagined. I always say the best Cena is an intense Cena so I don’t want to rip the promo too much until we see Rock respond to it. For example does Rock finally point out that the reason Cena is never leaving is because nobody is taking him?
•Mark Henry jobs clean in five minutes to Sheamus. One of the most short sighted decisions I’ve seen in a long time and showcases all the issues WWE has. This is the monster you spent last year building up, and if you aren’t careful you’ll ruin him quickly. Mark  Henry losing cleanly to an undersized guy compared to him should be saved for a pay per view conquest. It’s amazing that this took place on free television, but not surprising
•The Bellas-Kelly/Aksana. Why was this on television? They would have been better off doing a Beth promo here
•Teddy Long picks Ezekiel Jackson. More inconsistent storytelling from WWE. Why would Jackson be Teddy’s choice to face David Otunga when he just got submitted on Friday Night to Jinder Mahal. I know WWE hates that I pay attention, but man tighten up your product or is that asking for too much
•Eve’s heel turn. Speaking of tight, this was one way too soon heel turn and it has the feeling of being written on the fly, because John Cena needs to save face. Remember this next six weeks is going to be all about getting people to cheer John Cena. Her explanation for going heel would have worked for me, but there were one too many holes in the story. I know it was done quickly so Cena could be removed from the story, but WWE employs a sixteen person writing team and a so called creative genius so they should have been able to tell this story better
•The Battle Royal to determine the #1 contender for the Raw title. Complete garbage. The match didn’t feel important and it blows my mind that they are this short sighted. Doing this shows a total lack of respect for their own product and a lack of respect for the audience’s intelligence. Why is the Royal Rumble important if you can still get another title shot via Raw once the winner of the Rumble has chosen who he wants to face? This is why one of the Elimination Chamber matches needs to always be for the second #1 contender ship.
Overall Thoughts
•A pretty good Raw. There were lots of holes in the storytelling, but again I don’t want to condemn too much until Rock responds or Ryder returns to television. The Mark Henry clean loss, some people might see that as me being too negative on a small segment, but I disagree this was a major, major faux pas by a company who does these types of things on the regular

What needs to be accomplished on next week’s show?
•We know the top four matches and now let’s begin basic 101 wrestling promotion for them. We don’t need to get too cute or too creative, just tell the stories you have in place. Who is really the best in the world? Will Daniel Bryan be able to hold on to the title again? Can Triple H end the streak? What will Rock’s response be?
•Begin to setup the mid card Wrestlemania line-up
•Every segment should be dedicated to Wrestlemania. This is a smaller issue. I understand not everything can be dedicated to Wrestlemania, but I’d prefer them to find a way to do a video package or a promo then to have a throw away segment like they did this week with The Bellas, Kelly and Aksana