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By Richard Trionfo on 3/8/2011 1:39 PM
For the first time since December 7, 2009, a Monday night of wrestling passed without me at home doing a television report. I want to thank Mike Johnson, with an assist from Stu for filling in last night to allow me to enjoy the Capitals/Lightning game. The game reminded me of an episode of television where the show was okay for the first 95 minutes, but as they go to the main event, something really good happens and then it gets better with a solid main event.

With all of the introductory hullabaloo out of the way, it is now time to see how the rest of the world watches wrestling on television because now I have the ability to fast forward through commercials since I am not watching the show live to provide the necessary updates for the people who are following the product on the site and not watching the show.

Just like last week’s WWE television, if you are looking for some good wrestling to wet your whistle for Wrestlemania, this was not the show for you. While I don’t want to give away everything that can be seen in my By The Numbers Columns that are posted on the mother ship on Fridays, the longest match on this week’s show clocks in at three minutes and with six matches on the show, that means that we are going to have a lot of promos and video packages. They are continuing the build for the main matches at Wrestlemania as well as the Jerry Lawler/Michael Cole match. We still have just under four weeks until Wrestlemania to build the undercard for this show.

Here are my thoughts on the show:

Raw starts off with a Smackdown wrestler. Even though Undertaker is wrestling Triple H, he already made his comments about the match on Smackdown. Will we see Triple H on Smackdown? It seems that the Raw to Smackdown shuttle is a lot heavier going from Friday to Monday than from Monday to Friday. As one of the men who has earned frequent flier miles on that shuttle would say, but you already knew that.

I thought Undertaker’s promo was good. He emphasized how important the match between two of the last members of the Attitude Era who are currently wrestling by focusing on the ‘Streak’. Taker mentioned that people always claim that they are going to be the one to stand up to Taker and end the streak, but in the end, they do not get their hand raised. He brought his matches with Shawn Michaels and I liked how they mixed in the footage from their match. Like I mentioned on the Smackdown post game, Taker’s promos are so effective because he only cares about getting his message across and does not need any bells and whistles to make an impact.

With the announcement that the match between Taker and Triple H will be a No Holds Barred Match, I think it will make the match better because they will not be restricted by anything. I don’t know if they will brawl around the stadium like they did at Wrestlemania X-7.

I liked the Nexus beat down on Randy Orton in the back was good because it was done to try to give CM Punk someone at ringside for his match at Wrestlemania.

The way the Otunga/Orton match was set up, it reminded me of the Money in the Bank cash in matches when the referee would check on the champion after they were weakened during their match (or after the match by the person trying to be an opportunist) and then reluctantly call for the bell.

The Otunga/Orton match was not a good way to make Nexus seem important as a group. Punk beats the crap out of Orton with some help from Ryan and Otunga, including two hard shots of Orton’s head into a wall and a Go To Sleep. Orton is barely able to stand up when the referee asks him if he wants to have the match. Otunga hits the World’s Most Dangerous Spinebuster after having all of the offense but Orton is able to kick out despite the trauma to his head. Then from out of nowhere, DDRKO hits the RKO to win the match.

Then after the match, they weaken the rest of Nexus that does not have the name CM Punk by having Orton hitting an RKO on Mason Ryan despite being dropped on the top rope, causing more head trauma.

I wonder if Rafael Septien can give Orton some tips on his form for his field goal kicks (or if it is a ‘punt’ [just like the scoop slam]), he can ask Danny White).

I liked the mention that Miz is boycotting Raw. At that point, did the ‘When Will Miz Show Up Countdown Clock’ start?

They make a big deal about Christian returning to Smackdown on last week’s show, and then Christian gets involved in the contract signing. So of course Christian has his first match back from his injury on a show that is not called Smackdown.

Considering that Alberto Del Rio has been AWOL from NXT the last few weeks (well most of 2011), I don’t know why Brodus Clay came to the ring with him since Season Four of NXT is over.

I thought the match between Christian and Brodus was okay but you can definitely see the difference in experience between Clay and Christian. You expected to see Christian win the match and they let Clay get in some offense during the match.

With the way that Christian has handled things with Del Rio since his return at the Elimination Chamber, I still think that Christian is going to join forces with Edge against Del Rio, but in the end, we find out that Christian is working with Del Rio and Christian turns on Edge.

The Sin Cara video package . . . me gusta! I liked the slow tease of seeing him put on the mask while we saw footage of his high flying moves.

The good video package streak continued with the Hall of Fame video for Sunny.

The Divas match was the type of Divas match that you would expect on Raw. While the pump kick did not connect flush with Nikki’s face, she probably should have taken some sort of bump because it did hit her. Why didn’t the referee disqualify the Bellas for attempting the switch and why did it take so many matches for this to be noticed?

While it seems that the Divas division gets little or no respect from the announcers, Michael Cole treated it the same way that Nexus, Corre, Sheamus, and Ted DiBiase are being booked. I would think that any of the Divas would have a good shot against Cole in a match (and the sad thought that came to my mind while I typed this sentence is that he is going to go the ‘Andy Kaufman route’ and face a Diva as a ‘training match’ to get ready for Jerry Lawler [if you didn’t have this idea already, if you are with WWE Creative, please get the neural transmitters out and wipe this sentence from your memories]). He dominates enough of the commentary and does not focus on the matches in the ring, but this was unnecessary.

I really wish Josh Mathews would have channeled the Cobra Kai and swept the leg while Cole interrupted the Divas Title Match.

Why are they showing a commercial for Smackdown saying that the Undertaker has a message for Triple H when he comes on Raw to give Triple H a message? Why not keep Taker on Smackdown so people will want to watch that show to see what he has to say about the ‘Match for the Streak’? Some people might think that they are just going to replay what he said on Raw so there is no need to watch Smackdown? It isn’t like there aren’t already a plethora of video recaps from Raw on Smackdown every week but for some reason, that shuttle is also a one way venture.

I miss one week of Monday night television in 15 months and I get punished with Snooki as a guest host? Can we get another Capitals/Lightning game next Monday too?

Michael Cole claims that he ‘suckered in’ the fans by getting them to chant ‘Austin’? Does he realize that most wrestling fans are going to repeat whatever is said by the person holding the mic.

I know that there are some people who think that Cole is doing a great job with his promos in the Lawler feud, but Cole has said so much that takes away from the broadcasts and tries to intimidate people who he would never be able to intimidate,

I guess we know why Alberto Del Rio could not drive into the arena like he normally does. His illegitimate father had to reclaim his entrance method.

I thought JBL’s promo was good. It was a very good heel promo. He looked like he could probably wrestle today if he wanted to.

When they showed JBL’s profile, he looked a little like Lex Luger.

If you consider ‘debut’ as their first Wrestlemania match, didn’t Brock Lesnar make his Wrestlemania debut in the main event a few years ago? If you are talking about first matches, what about Mr. T?

With JBL being knocked out after one Stunner, is he going to join Nexus, or will he form the Foreclosed with Ted DiBiase?

If one of the conditions that Jerry Lawler agreed to for the match with Michael Cole was that Cole gets to choose the referee and he did not want Steve Austin to be the referee, why is that allowed? I guess they are using the Shawn Michaels Postulate from Wrestlemania 20 when he added himself to the title match.

I liked the appearance by Steve Austin. He does not have to say anything other than one thing to get the fans to say ‘Hell Yeah’, drink/spill beer, and give people Stone Cold Stunners.

With the accuracy that Steve Austin’s beer wrangler had throwing Steveweisers to Austin this week, do you think he would be drafted before Cam Newton?

To add to the ‘Unwritten Rules of Wrestling’: Never drink a beer with Steve Austin because you are going to get Stunnered.

I like the idea of Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole not being at the announce table together since they have a match at Wrestlemania. I also like the idea of having Lawler doing commentary because when he has someone who cares about what is going on in the ring (or as much as WWE announcers are allowed to) instead of putting themselves over, he does a better job.

The Sheamus/Bryan match was a bit of a letdown since it was so short. However, if it has to be due to an ‘injury’, it makes sense because it builds to their next match, which we found out will be next week.

Where are Madison Rayne or Sarita to face Sheamus in his ‘Career on the Line Challenge’ match?

I guess we will have a new United States Champion next week. I hope they give it a lot of time and will give us a reason to want to see the rematch at Wrestlemania because I think they can really steal the show if they are given a chance.

It is nice to see that Sheamus is on the ‘Jack Swagger I haven’t done anything

I liked the CM Punk/R Truth match for the ring psychology they used. Punk worked on the arm by sending him into the ring post numerous times. Punk tried for the Go To Sleep but Truth escaped the hold. Then Punk remembered that he was working on the arm the entire match so he applied the Anaconda Vice.

Rattlesnakes . . . Vipers . . . Anacondas . . . Cobras . . . no wonder Jerry Lawler got things mixed up during the Punk/Truth match when he said rattlesnake while talking about Orton/Punk.

I really like the Shawn Michaels video packages talking about the Triple H/Undertaker match. He is someone who can provide insight into the match as well as add the intrigue of whether or not he is going to be happy for his friend if he beats the Undertaker at Wrestlemania since it is something that Shawn failed at twice. I wonder if we will get his thoughts on the match by talking about his strategy for Undertaker in his two Wrestlemania matches.

The ‘two words’ that get the best reaction in WWE are no longer ‘suck it’, it is ‘Excuse Me’.

While Dolph had done almost everything on Smackdown, I wish he would have stayed on that show because he was one of the top guys on Friday nights. On Mondays, he has the potential to get lost in the shuffle.

I liked that Jerry asked Vickie about what she did to Dolph to get him fired. Vickie’s answer was interesting because she said that it is now a ‘business relationship’. Does that mean that the relationship is over or did Vickie simply misspeak?

With Dolph on Raw, there is one match that I want to see. Once he comes back from his ‘it isn’t a punt’ attack, I want to see Dolph against Michael McGillicutty to see who really embraces the Curt Hennig persona.

The Morrison/Ziggler match was disappointing, but what you have come to expect on television in recent weeks from WWE. Morrison ‘injures’ his knee in the first fifteen seconds of the match and sells it during the break when we see the leap frog neck snap. However, less than a minute later, Morrison is hitting leg lariats, connecting with knees, and running the ropes without any problem.

The length of the Morrison/Ziggler match could be looked at different ways when looking at the match. If they want to put over Ziggler as a top level talent, he got a quick win over a guy that has been pushed at times. However, since Morrison has been yo yoed so much since the first of the year, does the victory mean anything for Ziggler?

With Vickie’s comments during the Ziggler/Morrison match about Snooki, I am actually now looking forward to a confrontation between Vickie and Snooki.

I would have loved to see Michael Cole run to the ring when the General Messenger dingy dingy rang through the building. Or cut to the TitanTron where Michael Cole has another laptop with a Wifi connection that gets the e-mails?

Isn’t the purpose of a heel to be ‘polarizing’? Shouldn’t they want you to hate them? Isn’t that what Vickie Guerrero, The Miz, CM Punk, and other top heels do?

Why is it that most ‘security’ at wrestling show knows how to get into the ring so well?

John Cena’s promo was okay. It was a mix of the usual John Cena ‘written for fourth graders’ mixed with some of the good stuff he has said about the Rock. If you are in Texas, shouldn’t you do a country version? He could have Mickie James make a surprise appearance to accompany him. I liked the ‘I Bring It Via Satellite’ t-shirt. Even at his best, Cena will not match the Rock in terms of the quality of his promos, but he can still cut good promos and if he avoids the childish comments and references, he will make the match seem as important as it really is.

I wonder how different Miz’s sneak attack would have been if Michael Cole was at the announce table. Would he have been jumping up and down like the little kiddies do for John Cena crying over the thought of seeing their idol or would he have acted like Lawler and Mathews?

I liked the attack by Miz and his promo. Miz is right to say that he is the third man in this match even though he is the champion. I liked the Miz’s rhyme because when was the last time that you heard someone include Randy Savage, Elizabeth, and Bret Hart in the same ‘song’? I also liked that Miz stopped his comments when he saw John Cena try to get up and then he hit the Skull Crushing Finale. The AWESOME Elbow was a good touch to end the show.

Even though he is the champion, I think he is still underrated on his promos. Just like Cody Rhodes on Friday, Miz does not have to raise his voice and act crazy to get his message across. He pointed out that he is the champion so he should not be ignored in the WWE Title match. This is a time when the message is more important than the manner in which it is given.

If you missed the show, what should you watch?: For the nostalgia aspect, the JBL/Austin/Cole segment is worth watching. The Undertaker segment at the start of the show as well as the Miz/Cena segment at the end are worth seeing. The Shawn Michaels look at Taker/Triple H was good and so was the Sunny Hall of Fame video. If you skip the wrestling, you are not missing much this week.