Hot on the heels of WrestleMania 27, the Road to WrestleMania 28 kicked off last night on Monday Night Raw. In the final segment of the show, John Cena called out the Rock to confront him about his actions at WrestleMania the night before. After the two exchanged a few generic pleasantries, Cena took the initiative to challenge the Rock to a match. The Rock obliged, and suggested next year’s WrestleMania as the stage, which Cena accepted with a handshake. At this point, the Corre stormed the ring and were dismantled by The Rock and Cena for no discernible reason. It’ll be interesting having a match set in stone for an entire year leading into Mania. I’m really curious how it will affect the booking between now and then. As for the last night’s segment itself, it was pretty mediocre. The Rock continued to talk in circles, the Corre was further buried, and John Cena has seemingly moved beyond his feud with the Miz.
Assuming that the feud between Cena and The Miz is in fact over now, it’ll be very interesting to see who the WWE Champion feuds with next. A match with Stone Cold was teased last night when the Miz interrupted Austin’s Tough Enough introduction segment, but it’s hard for me to imagine the Rattlesnake stepping into the ring again, especially for a match with the Miz. I think that the Miz’s involvement with Austin last night was more or less just to give Stone Cold the chance to stunner somebody, that somebody being Alex Riley. I guess potential feud partners for the Miz heading into Extreme Rules are John Morrison, Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, and Evan Bourne. At any rate, the rest of Raw after the jump.
- Sin Cara made his much-anticipated debut, attacking Sheamus after his successful US Title defense against Daniel Bryan. The Sheamus vs Bryan match was good, if not spectacular, but it hardly made up for their bout being bumped from WrestleMania. Sheamus was sporting red, white, & blue tights since he’s now the United States Champion, and it was strange to see him out of his normal colors. Cara looked good in his first appearance, showcasing some of his high-flying arsenal against the Celtic Warrior. I guess we’re going to have an Irishman and a Mexican feuding over the United States title heading into Extreme Rules, and that’s aces in my book.
- Dolph Ziggler & Vickie Guerrero found themselves on the losing end of a match against John Morrison & Trish Stratus. I’m curious how long Trish is actually back for. Despite my displeasure with her return, now that she’s back she might as well stick around. The longer she stays, the happier I’ll be that she didn’t return just for SnookiMania. And hey, she’s always nice to look at too. I really hope that Ziggler and Morrison meet one-on-one in some kind of gimmick match, preferably of the ladder variety, at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view.
- Alberto Del Rio squashed Evan Bourne in a match that was too short to really get rolling. It should be noted that Del Rio did not drive one of his cars out last night, presumably fearful that Edge and/or Christian would smash it.
- After Stone Cold introduced the cast of this season’s Tough Enough to the Raw audience, a “Stun them all” chant broke out, and it has immediately become one of my favorite chants ever. If only Austin heeded the Atlanta crowd’s advice, I’d be babbling like an idiot about how great Raw was right now.
- Randy Orton & Rey Mysterio defeated CM Punk & Cody Rhodes in a match that ran for over 15 minutes! Fifteen minutes, people! Great to see a match of this length on Raw, it’s been too long. My mind was almost blown by the awesomeness of CM Punk & Cody Rhodes together, but I was able to keep my composure. Had the two of them cut a promo together, I would have lost it. Randy Orton used the Angle Slam during the match, which I have to perceive was a shot against the Olympic Gold Medalist after the words he and Orton recently exchanged on Twitter.
- Triple H cut a promo on the Undertaker, pretty much putting him over for taking the beaten that he did the night before. Trips thanked the Deadman for the hell of a match and told him he’d be waiting for him if and when he returns. There wasn’t really much to be said here, just a gesture of respect from Hunter after the show-stealer he and Taker put on the previous night. Also, for the first time since their returns on 2/21, the fact that Undertaker and Triple H were opponents at WrestleMania X7 was acknowledged.
- JR & The King called the first half hour of Raw. Then, at the demand of Michael Cole, Lawler wrestled Jack Swagger, losing to the Ankle Lock. In the aftermath, Cole doused Jim Ross with BBQ sauce, and the new announce team somehow became Cole, Booker T, and Josh Matthews. This commentator drama needs to end. It’s too much of a distraction to the rest of the show, and now that WrestleMania’s over, it’s really dragging everything down.
When all the smoke cleared, I’d say it was a successful Raw. The main event for next year’s WrestleMania already being set should bring an interesting dynamic to the upcoming year of programming. I cannot overstate how happy I was to see a 15-minute match on the show, too. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come. I’m looking forward to the eventual Ziggler / Morrison match we’ll get, and Sheamus and Sin Cara should be able to put together a nifty match or three. Sheamus has always worked well with the smaller guys, and I don’t see why Mistico would be any different.