Perhaps the biggest question heading into RAW tonight is who will Brock bring The Pain to? He saved Heyman last week, so will Paul be able to weasel his way out of getting fired yet again? Was Punk in the know about Heyman’s dealing with Brad Maddox and The Shield? Will Rock be here or will he be off promoting one of his films? On a side note, Maddox was involved in that ‘ref’ angle last fall when the NFL had replacement refs, so since there was a blackout at the Super Bowl last night, will WWE work that into the show somehow?
Incriminating: When discussing his supposed culpability in the damning Heyman video from last week, Punk immediately makes the obvious point that he was not seen at all in said video. Not only does he state that fact but ties into yet another great promo ripping on the crowd. The irony that the audience is unquestionably buying into something Vince, who has been very cutthroat in the past, fed them was not lost on Punk. Thankfully, his RAWActive poll opponent was picked to be Jericho, proving the ‘Universe’ can make smart decisions on occasion. If their match had gone on for 10 or 15 more minutes it would not have suffered in quality. It could’ve been on a PPV and it wouldn’t have looked out of place.
Paul Heyman: The idea of Heyman going on MizTV to clear his name doesn’t really sound like a good idea on paper. However, the segment was actually pretty good. Heyman and Miz had good chemistry together with several barbs including the former referring to Miz as ‘Mr Mizanin’ and Miz mentioning how Vince ruined Heyman’s company. The idea to have Vickie as the one that brought back Brock seems like a cop out to keep the illusion of Heyman’s innocence alive. However, anything that keeps him on TV has to be a good thing. He’s the best non-wrestler that the company has and he showed his acting skills off yet again this week. Perhaps the biggest downside to Punk not being champ anymore is not being able to see Heyman cradle the WWE Title like it’s his Precious.
Facial Hair: It is a great time for facial hair in the WWE. For instance there is Cody’s immaculately styled mustache which has its own ‘Groomed For Greatness’ shirt. Maybe this means he’s bringing back his ‘Grooming Tips’ but just for mustaches? Not only were they entertaining, but fit in with his Dashing persona. The Mustache has taken on a life of its own, so Cody does need to take care of it. Of course, there is the ultimate WWE facial hair in Bryan’s goat beard. It keeps getting more gnarly as time passes. Pretty soon he’ll be able to store small objects in there. It’s only a small portion of his character, but sooner or later it has to play a larger part, perhaps if he splits from Kane and remains a heel. Plus with Mark Henry returning to induct Mysterio and Cara into the Hall of Pain, we get to see his sweaty beard more.
Jack Swagger: How bad did Creative botch Jack Swagger’s return on Smackdown? I mean he just randomly came up during the opening segment with the same entrance music, attire and basic character. The only thing that had changed was he slicked back his hair and grew a beard. Considering how little of a reaction he was getting before, you would have thought he would have changed in some way. The most obvious thing would have been to turn him face, seeing as how Alebrto and Miz’s face turns have launched them back into relevance. In this case, he could be the perfect opponent for Antonio Cesaro. Cesaro continually rags on America, and having a pro-America Swagger challenge him would have made sense. It’s not the most original angle, but it works and Swagger is the ALL-AMERICAN AMERICAN of all things. He and Cesaro have the potential to put on some great matches and it’s really the only way to get Swagger back on track.
Tag Teams: It looked like Creative was finally taking the Tag division seriously, with Kane and Bryan having a lengthy and meaningful reign and several teams challenging them. However, the split of Rhodes Scholars on Smackdown can only mean bad things as they were the only legitimate challengers to The Penny Titles. Mysterio and Sin Cara could have been at that level, but they haven’t been booked well. No other teams have been booked very strongly. With Kane and Bryan seemingly headed towards a break up, the division is in danger of slipping back into irrelevance. There don’t appear to be any teams ready to make the jump from NXT, so what is WWE to do? Bring up Kassius Ohno and have him reform the Kings of Wrestling with Cesaro?
The Shield: So now that the group has been outed as hired mercenaries of Heyman, where do they go from here? They have to move onto something that keeps them relevant, but doesn’t stop their momentum. Creative’s answer apparently is to have them feud with John Cena as he’s to call them out tonight.. After one of the most awkward promos ever from Brad Maddox, the group gets their comeuppance as Cena shows up with Ryback and Sheamus. Since Cena has nothing to do at Elimination Chamber, dealing with The Shield appears to take of that. This can only be bad for Ambrose, Rollin and Reigns. There is no way they’ll come out looking good against Cena. This will just be a minor tune-up on the way to facing The Rock at Mania and that’s a shame for these three promising young guys.