bearer-urn-takerThe WWE is now less then 4 weeks away from Wrestlemania 29 and this RAW should be focused on advancing current feuds and setting up new ones for the Show of Shows. For example, how will Cena fare without Rock there? Will Undertaker speak or just stare menacingly at Punk? How will Punk handle the pressure of potentially being The One? How will they pay tribute to Paul Bearer? Will Ziggler get a Mania match against Jericho? Will he get a match at all? Will they make the Sheamus-Orton-Show vs The Shield official? Will Creative ever stop burying their midcard champions? Will there be a Divas match at the show? Does anyone realize the Divas division even exists anymore?

The One: The opening tribute video to Paul Bearer was a nice touch as well as the highlight clips shown throughout the night. Taker posing in the ring with The Urn front and center was awesome. Punk’s interruption and ‘condolences’ were him at his best, plus having Taker just stand there and not say anything was the best choice. His character isn’t one that talks much, so when he does eventually respond to Punk it’ll mean that much more. As for the Mania match buildup, their past history MUST be brought up at some point before their big clash. In particular their WHC feud in the fall of ’09. Punk could taunt Taker by saying he made him tap out at Breaking Point and that he’ll do it again at Mania.

Beard On: Fans have appreciating Daniel Bryan’s great beard for some time and with recent news it’ll get even better. Bryan has challenged Oakland Athletics outfielder Josh Reddick to a ‘Beard Off’ and the As slugger has accepted. The rules are whoever has the longest beard at year’s end wins and the loser must shave theirs off. This will be nothing short of epic as you will probably be able to hide a small army in either guy’s facial hair by the end. WWE must incorporate this contest into its programming somehow given Reddick’s love of pro wrestling. This could perhaps be inviting Reddick to a RAW or Smackdown when the company rolls through the Bay Area next time. Only good things can come of this story. Good things can also come from matches like the one Bryan and Ziggler put on tonight.

You’re Welcome: It’s a glorious day as Team Rhodes Scholars reunites after their brief breakup against The New Age Outlaws. Their version of Road Dogg’s mic intro with proper grammar and diction shows how questionable it was to separate the two in the first place. Like the Outlaws, The Scholars had two words for us…You’re Welcome! We all should be thanking them as the formerly ‘resurgent’ tag division hit a rough patch. Hopefully now Rhodes and Sandow can move on to finally dethroning Bryan and Kane as the Tag Champs. Even better, later on in a backstage segment with The Scholars, the Bellas returned to help save the Divas division. Credit Creative for salvaging two Divisions in one fell swoop!

Paul Bearer: The WWE lost one of the best managers of all time last week when William Moody, aka Paul Bearer, passed away. He was constantly at the side of the Undertaker throughout the Deadman’s time in WWE and played a large part in the supernatural mythos and aura of Taker, most prominently carrying The Urn. His role in the family saga of Taker and Kane also made for some memorable moments. Many of the younger fans may not really know who Bearer was and what he gave to this company, but there’s no doubt that The Father of Destruction is among the great managers of all time.

The Rock: He won’t be on RAW until the final 2 shows before Mania. Rocky has other commitments and he most likely pledged to them before he said he’d come back for this WWE run, however that doesn’t make it any less ideal. He is the WWE Champion and should be on TV every week in order to be visible and advance his current feud. Now the burden falls on Cena to advance the feud by myself on the mic, which doesn’t really inspire confidence. There might be ways around this, such as Rock appearing ‘via satellite’ yet again, but his absences could detrimental to the showdown at Mania. Not to mention how difficult it will be for Rock and Cena to live up to the Cena-Punk instant classic from a few weeks ago.

Wasted Time: This section was going to be about how much time WWE was wasting overly promoting their movies, including devoting the return of The Highlight Reel with Chris Jericho do Miz and Barrett’s flicks. That by itself is bad enough, but it easily got topped. With Barrett and Jericho arguing over the IC title, Brad Maddox comes out and delivers one of the worst promos in recent memory where he books Miz-Jericho with the winner facing Barrett for the IC title next week on RAW. The idea is pretty good but Maddox was so horrendous and awkward on the mic that it totally ruined the segment. Even Michael Cole was begging for the show to go to commercial.