The WWE sure knows how to play the fans. Raw was live from Chicago this week. After weeks of wondering what would happen due to local boy and company star CM Punk leaving, Raw went off without a hitch, and without Punk. Much to the chagrin of the fans, Punk never showed. What made it even more surprising, was that WWE actually mentioned Punk, teasing fans of a Punk appearance to start the show, as Paul Heyman came out to Punk’s music. The start of the show made it clear that Raw was going to be interesting.
Heyman came out and delivered his own so-called “Pipe Bomb”, but not about Punk, but Brock Lesnar. Heyman said Lesnar would end the Undertaker’s streak at WrestleMania 30. To prove Heyman’s point, Lesnar destroyed Mark Henry with an F5 into the announcer’s table. In the process, Lesnar nearly seriously injured a young fan, as he madly tossed the prompters from the announcers table. It was a great way to kick off the show in a hostile environment.
While some may have been disappointed at Punk’s no-show, the Wyatt’s and The Shield made up for it with another classic battle. The Wyatt’s got the win again, but this time it was due to Seth Rollins leaving his team stranded in the middle of the ring as he walked away. This will no doubt set up a triple threat match at WrestleMania between Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, and Rollins.
This week’s edition of Monday Night Raw was, in my mind, a pivotal episode for the WWE. Not only did the WWE deliver a solid show, they got fans excited for the granddaddy of them all, WrestleMania 30.
Raw kicked off with The Immortal, and leathery looking, Hulk Hogan making his way to the ring. The Hulkster still looks good for his age, 60, but he needs to drop the boa, it’s very unmanly. I was expecting Hogan to be a bigger part of the show then he was, unfortunately, all he did was pimp out the Network. So, the first 10 minutes of Raw was Hogan selling the Network and announcing he was named the host for WrestleMania 30. Not exactly what I expected from the Hulkster, but anytime the greatest professional wrestler alive can return to Raw, it’s a good thing and a ratings grabber.
The first match of the night was a rematch between Alberto Del Rio and Batista. Yes, a rematch from the Elimination Chamber pay per view, because the match was just so thrilling the first time around, right? The Animal is going to have to turn heel. The crowd absolutely hates Batista. They booed him the entire match. After Randy Orton came out to the stage, Batista was distracted and Del Rio rolled him up for the win. Following the upset, Batista let loose one of the funniest quotes of the night. “If they cheer me, I cheer them back. If they boo me, I boo them back.” Really? I guess it’s hard to come up with a good comeback when you have all that muscle. On a serious note, I am praying they change the main event of WrestleMania. It will be a nightmare if the WWE decides to go ahead with the main event without Daniel Bryan. Fans may riot if that happens.
Very seldom is there an album that comes out that truly gets me excited.
I guess Pearl Jam’s recent album could count as one that I was stoked about, but that is about it. Enter Eric Church, country music’s modern day outlaw. He’s a man among boys in today’s world of country music. While Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean are selling out arena’s singing about beer drinking, riding trains and break-ups, Church is selling out his own concert’s with songs about whiskey drinking, fighting, and smoking weed. Church’s last album,”Chief,” was a chart-topping success, selling millions, and making the 36-year old a country music star. After touring in support of the album for two-plus years, Church is back with “The Outsiders.”
“The Outsiders” brings a little bit of everything to the table. If you’re a rock fan who first discovered Church opening for Metallica, you will love the lead track, which is the title of the album. While the song feels like it was forced into the new album, it’s a rousing country/rock piece that will surely be a crowd-pleaser at live shows.
One of the biggest stories in wrestling has been developing since the beginning of the week. CM Punk’s departure from WWE has been met with grumblings that it was in fact a work by the company to give heat to Punk’s upcoming WrestleMania match with Triple H. There are also many who believe that Punk’s departure is the real deal, and that in fact the superstar had finally had enough with the company’s ‘vision’ of where his character fit into their program.
In my mind, there is no way that Punk’s leaving WWE is a work. WWE would have to be crazy to stage a falling out with a superstar of Punk’s stature. Let’s face it, Punk’s leaving the company is not good for business and has made the company look bad. But on the other hand, Punk, himself, has done severe damage to his persona in the business. The rumors are swirling that Punk, real name Phil Brooks, was not happy with the WWE’s idea of how to use his character. He apparently wanted to main event WrestleMania. There are also rumors that Punk is just burnt out, his body is broken down from the punishment he takes in the ring night in and night out. Then there are those who believe that Punk was upset over the payout for future pay per view’s due to the company’s new network that will be starting Feb. 24. Regardless of the situation that you choose to believe, we may never know the exact truth behind the superstar’s departure from the WWE.
The first WWE pay per view of the year was everything I thought it would be; fun, entertaining, predictable and controversial.
The Royal Rumble started with a bang, in perhaps one of the best matches in the pay per view’s history. Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt put on a match filled with emotion and physicality, and absolutely stole the show. Bryan showed why he is the top dog in the company right now, but more on him later. I want to talk about Bray Wyatt, who got the win, and may have catapulted himself into the top tier of the WWE. We all knew the man could cut a promo. He’s the best in the business right now, there’s no doubting that. But, what was questioned was his wrestling skills. He proved on Sunday night that he is top notch in the ring as well. His match with Bryan featured many near pin-falls, as well as some just brutal moves. One in particular was Wyatt delivering the Sister Abigail to Bryan outside the ring, against the wall. It looked absolutely brutal on television. I’ve been a big fan of Wyatt’s character since his debut and it looks like he is going to be a top heel in the WWE for a long time.
A lot of fans did not like the Brock Lesnar and Big Show match. I was fine with It. We all knew that Lesnar was going to win. I was kind of surprised with the ferociousness of Lesnar. It’s rare that the WWE lets a big man take a brutal beating, but Lesnar dished it out on Show. It was fun to watch at first, as I’m a Lesnar fan, but I started to feel sorry for Show, taking chair shot after chair shot. The match succeeded in making Lesnar look like an unstoppable monster. It will be interesting to see where the WWE goes with Lesnar for WrestleMania. I tend to think Batista is next in line for the Beast, but that remains to be seen.