Coming off of WrestleMania 28, nothing too ridiculous is generally expecting on the next day’s Monday Night Raw.
Boy was I wrong.
The rumor mill proved to be just one day off, as Brock Lesnar finally made his return to the WWE, and his target is John Cena. Lesnar wasted little time delivering an F-5 to last night’s loser, and I can only guess that this feud will go on for a few months. If they can promote Rock/Cena for a year, I don’t see why they can’t sell this until Summerslam. It’s been reported all over he place that Lesnar has a one year deal with the WWE, and I think a Cena feud makes all the sense in the world for the bulk of that contract. Cena has spent a lot of time going against guys that are just better wrestlers than him, so that even when he wins he is still getting somewhat outperformed. Lesnar however is every bit the physical freak Cena is. The two of them could spend 20 minutes heaving each other across the ring and it would make a hell of a show. I also find it really interesting that they are keeping Cena as far away from a title as possible. The WWE seems to have found a sweet spot for booking, where they satisfy the hardcore fans by having Punk as the champion and making him defend against more polished wrestlers like Jericho and Ziggler, while still having Cena main event the shows by putting him against whatever legend or big name they choose. It’s almost brilliant.
There was so much more to this Raw Supershow though. First off the crowd was absolutely electric. Perhaps even more than they were on Sunday for ‘Mania. The best part was that they were all chanting for Daniel Bryan. The Punk/Henry match reached a fever pitch, chanting “YES!” for every Punk strike. Bryan’s name was chanted literally the whole night, and they went berserk when he briefly appeared backstage. He didn’t even say a word and had the place buzzing. Pretty good for a heel who lost his title in 18 seconds. Somehow Bryan got a huge push by getting knocked out at WrestleMania. The chants started before ‘Mania even went live, got stronger after he lost, and Monday night it was out of control. It’s as if the fans feel it’s their responsibility to keep in the spotlight, and if Zack Ryder and Santino taught us anything, it’s that that tactic works.
The show opened with the Rock thanking the fans and blah blah blah. Then he not only promised that he was not done in the ring, but that he would become WWE Champion! Next WrestleMania perhaps? It would make for an interesting Royal Rumble if he were to win it to get his title shot. I’m more curious at who will be champion if/when he gets a title shot. CM Punk would be interesting but it doesn’t exactly wow me. Cena rematch? Jericho? Triple H? Undertaker? All seem kind of unlikely. I can be talked into a Randy Orton match but what do I know?
Did anyone else notice that Brodus Clay hit someone significant? Yes it was one move against Ziggler who could sell ice to an eskimo but still. If he ends up in a tag match with Santino against Swagger and Ziggler, it could actually give the Funkasaurus some direction and get him in some real matches. I’d really just love to see him take one bump. I feel like you can’t judge a guy until he takes a real hit. We even got the debut of Lord Tensai (formerly A-Train) and my immediate reaction is that he’s the anti-Clay. All show and size, but not too much to go on after seeing him pummel a jobber. Suddenly the WWE has gained a lot of size.
In the short term picture it looks like Mark Henry will get a push after man handling CM Punk. Henry winning via count out has all signs pointing to Henry/Punk for the belt at Extreme Rules. The one thing I can’t figure out is where Jericho fits in all this. They are still beating us over the head (literally and figuratively) with the drinking angle but where do the go now that Jericho has tapped out.
We also finally got the return of a much needed Alberto Del Rio. He’ll head to Smackdown where he’ll get the first crack at taking the World Heavyweight Championship of Sheamus’ hands. He’ll replace the injured Wade Barrett and Christian(?) as lead heel on Friday nights, and should do fine in that role. I really want to know where Bryan fits in all this though. After the reaction he’s gotten the last two days I doubt they’ll leave him out of the picture. If Del Rio is next in line though Bryan might have to wait his turn.
Seven-hundred words later I still have no idea what is up WWE creative’s sleeve. I do know however that they have me completely interested after the best Monday Night Raw in months.